Renewable energy covered one-fourth of consumption in Q1
In the first quarter, Estonian power plants generated 625 gigawatt-hours of renewable energy – three per cent more than during the same period in the last year. Renewable energy made up 40 per cent of total Estonian power output in the first three months of the year and covered nearly a quarter of the consumption.
The proportion of renewable energy compared to the total consumption of electricity was 23.5 per cent in the first quarter of the year while the indicator stood at 24.9 per cent in the same period in 2020. According to the plan established by Estonia, renewable energy must cover at least 30 per cent of domestic end-use of electricity by 2030. If flexible cooperation mechanisms with other member states of the European Union are successfully launched, it is possible to increase this proportion to 50 per cent.
The production of renewable energy in the first quarter was affected by reduced wind energy production while the volume of electricity generated from non-renewable energy and co-generation increased due to cold weather. Wind energy made up a third of the total production of renewable energy in the first quarter. The 184 gigawatt-hours of wind energy generated is a decrease of 37 per cent compared to the previous year.
Renewable energy producers received a total of 23 million euros of subsidies from January to March this year – 22 per cent less than in the same period last year. In the first quarter, 79 per cent of wind energy output was subsidised, totaling eight million euros. In the first three months of the year, payments have therefore been made to the extent of 24 per cent of the maximum annual limit amount of 600 gigawatt-hours of wind energy subject to subsidies and Elering is not expecting the maximum limit to be reached this year.
Electricity produced from biomass, biogas and waste made up 66 per cent of the production of renewable energy in the last three months. A total of 413 gigawatt-hours of electricity was generated from these types of fuel from January to March and nearly 13 million euros in subsidies were paid, which is roughly equivalent to the same period last year.
Nine gigawatt-hours of electricity were produced by hydropower in the first quarter of the year and 244,500 euros were spent on subsidies.
The number of owners of solar panels receiving subsidies is constantly growing. In the first quarter of the year, the volume of electricity produced via solar panels and distributed to the network was 18.6 gigawatt-hours and more than 910,000 euros were paid in subsidies for electricity produced from solar power and distributed to the network. Thanks to the addition of new solar panels, this indicator has increased by more than a half compared to last year. In the renewable energy information system administered by Elering, there are currently approximately 12,000 registered solar generating installations with a capacity of nearly 465 megawatts.
Efficient co-generation subsidies were paid in the first quarter of the year in the amount of just below one million euros, which is a decrease of one-fifth compared to the same period in the last year. 30 gigawatt-hours of electricity were generated in the efficient co-generation mode.
The renewable energy and efficient co-generation subsidies are financed by power consumers through the renewable energy charge. Elering collected a total of 27.6 million euros of this charge in the first quarter and paid 25.0 million euros of subsidies. Detailed information concerning the grant amounts for renewable energy is available in the Register of State Aid and Aid of Minor Importance of the Ministry of Finance (https://www.rahandusministeerium.ee/et/riigiabi).