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Lack of political ambition for RES development and support for the fossil fuel sector in Estonia

Last update: 2022-02-13

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2022-02-13
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Political and economic framework

Existence of general RES strategy

Many regulative and administrative barriers would be solved quickly, if there were enough political will to develop RES. Preparation of the Estonian national energy and climate plan (NECP 2030) demonstrated that respective ministries in Estonia aim at relatively high goals (42% of RES by 2030) concerning RES. The NECP 2030 has additionally been followed by a relatively concrete time schedule for achieving these goals, including the schedule for planned tenders for RES from 2019. However, the RE targets set in the Estonian NECP are remarkably less ambitious than set in the National Development Plan of the Energy Sector until 2030 (ENMAK 2030), adopted in 2017. The lack of ambition in the NECP also does not give an inviting signal to potential investors and project developers. 

A wide difference in understanding regarding the issue persists: while renewable energy sector representatives are disappointed by the lack of ambition, calling it a 'status quo plan', the authorities compiling the plan have been calling this as a more realistic approach, based on actually available capabilities and stress that the NECP is just the minimum of ambition, it is always possible to set more ambitious targets in the process if this seems doable. 

Another decision regarding the lack of political will for RE development is the decision by the government to continue financing and aiding the fossil fuel (oil shale) sector. An example of that is the decision made in March 2020 by the Government to finance the construction of an oil shale refinery with €125 million, which is heavily criticised by climate activists, renewable energy developers and some politicians. 

Since a new government took office in January 2021, the issue has somewhat lessened at least in rhetoric, as the government has named green transition as one of its central goals. That includes a pledge to cease all future investments in fossil fuels and take several actions to facilitate RES deployment. However, despite the pledge to cease investments in fossil fuels, the government still has not taken back the controversial €125 million investment into the oil shale sector made in 2020 (despite one party in the two-party coalition opposing this quite publicly), claiming that the project is too far ahead already. 

By now, all the main documents regulating the energy and climate sector are severely outdated and do not account for the recently agreed upon increase in EU climate ambition. The government has pledged to renew the Energy Sector Development Plan, however, according to the planned schedule, it would only be approved in December 2025. 

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RES-E PV ground-mounted


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RES-E PV rooftop


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RES-E onshore wind


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RES-E offshore wind


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