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Wind Energy in Estonia

The Estonian energy supply is mainly from the indigenous fossil fuel oil shale, a situation that only occurs in a few countries worldwide. Regarding renewables, the additional potential is mainly in biomass, biogas, wind power and small hydropower. The Estonian energy policy is described in the Estonian Longterm Public Fuel and Energy Sector Development Plan and the Development Plan for Electricity Sector until 2015. According to these documents, the overall share of renewable electricity aimed at is 8% in 2015 and 10% in 2020. The following technology-specific targets are mentioned:



Wind power






Other renewables (landfill gas and hydropower)



According to the Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources the target for the share of energy from renewable sources in gross final consumption of energy in the year 2020 for Estonia is 25% (in the year 2005 the share was 18.0%). The Directive has a mandatory 10 % target for transport to be achieved by all Member States, which refers to renewable sources as a whole, not biofuels alone.

Renewable energy projections according to the National Renewable Energy Action Plan for Estonia
The National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) for Estonia was submitted in December 2010. The target according to Annex I of Directive 2009/28/EC is 25% for the year 2020 and the projected NREAP share in that year exactly matches the target.  According to the projection, the most important contribution in the year 2020 is expected from biomass (renewable heating and cooling) (607 ktoe, 70% of all renewable energy). Second important contribution is expected from wind power (1.5 TWh or 132 ktoe, 15% of all renewable energy). The third largest contribution is from biodiesel (renewable transport) (51 ktoe, 6% of all renewable energy). Wind power contributes with 0.7 GW (1.5 TWh) in the year 2020 (onshore wind 0.4 GW and 1.0 TWh, offshore wind 0.3 GW and 0.6 TWh). No solar PV nor solar thermal is projected for 2020. The two most important biofuels are projected to contribute 51 ktoe (biodiesel) and 38 ktoe (bioethanol / bio-ETBE) by 2020. For solid biomass and biogas no projections have been made in the Estonian Action Plan.
Renewable electricity: wind power
In Estonia a system is in place where the grid operator is obliged to buy the renewable power, and is also responsible for paying the fee (feed-in tariff or subsidy) to the RES-operator. The system was revised thoroughly in 2007. In February 2007, the Estonian Parliament adopted several amendments to the Electricity Market Act, among which the changes in feed-in tariff and market cap are the most profound. Starting from the 1st of May 2007, the wind energy tariff is 115 Estonian cents per kWh (7.35 €cents per kWh). However, the new act introduces the volume cap for a predefined fixed feed-in tariff: the tariff of 115 Estonian cents is valid until a market cap of 200 GWh annually (approximately 75 MW of installed capacity). After the named boundary the 2 tiersystem will be applied: market price of 35-45 Estonian cents per kWh (2.2-2.9 €cents) plus subsidy of 84 Estonian cents per kWh (5.37 €cents per kWh). The second scheme system will be terminated when 400 GWh of wind electricity is annually produced (approximately 150 MW of installed capacity) and then only market price will be valid (the subsidy is phased out). First and second scheme systems start again at the beginning of each year until caps are met. Named reference to has been enforced as of the 1st of January 2009. The new amendment to the Electricity Market Act gives an opportunity for trading with Green Certificates, but on the expense of subsidy traders must give up subsidies in return for the GC. Currently, the market price plus subsidy gives a larger sum than the market price plus GC. Therefore the system is not operational in practice (GC system is not solidly in place). Besides, the operators of wind parks have to provide forcasts for their production. The balancing requirements for wind parks that were established before the 31st of December 2007, are applied after the 1st of January 2009. For the wind parks that were installed after 31st of December 2007, the balancing requirements became instantly applicable.

A system of guarantees of origin is in place but no guarantees have been issued yet.

Furthermore, Estonia receives financial means from the EU budget for Structural Funds, implemented through the Estonian National Development Plan (NDP). Reducing environmental impact of the energy sector, improving efficiency and increasing the share of renewable energy are goals. During the period of 2004 to 2006, the Centre approved 14 renewable energy projects and paid out grants totalling approximately EUR 2.7 million. For the period 2007 to 2013, the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) has been announced, which has a focus on investments for flexible (RES) cogeneration plants and grid connection infrastructure. Other investment subsidy schemes available to RES-E come from funds originating from other Western European countries: Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

No tax incentives apply to RES-E. A system of green certificates is in operation on a voluntary basis as of 2001, introduced by Estonian Energy AS and the Estonian Fund for Nature. Also, environmental charges are collected, regulated by the Environmental Charges Act (ECA). This charge is applicable to production of electricity. Electricity from hydropower, wind, biomass and the use of waste are exempted from this tax. Furthermore, excise taxes exist on fuel.

Future programme changes expected
An ecological tax reform was initiated in Estonia in 2005, and is to be carried out by 2013. In the energy sector, one of the priorities of ecological tax reform is to promote renewable energy and the production of RES-E in particular. Furthermore, no new information is available for the coming years.

Imbi Jürgen, Tark & Co, Estonia, I.E.L.T.R. ISSUE 10, 2007

Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, (sourced September 2008)

Viive Šavel, Support scheme for electricity from RES and CHP in Estonia - Electricity Market Act, Sixth Workshop of the International Feed-in Cooperation (IFIC), Brussels, November 2008, (sourced January 2009) 

Long-term Public Fuel and Energy Sector Development Plan until 2015, Andrus Ansip, Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications, Tallinn 2004, (sourced January 2009)

Electricity Market Act and the Grid Code, (sourced January 2009)

Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources,

World Wind Energy Association (WWEA): World wind energy international 2009/2010, ISBN: 978-3-940683-01-4

The National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAPs) are all published on the Transparency Platform on Renewable Energy: (sourced July - December 2010)

Renewable Energy Projections as Published in the National Renewable Energy Action Plans of the European Member States, (sourced December 2010)

Interactive EurObserv’ER Database
Last update: January 2011

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