Volume 35, Issue 2 p. 469-478
Sustainability

Estonian energy supply strategy assessment for 2035 and its vulnerability to climate driven shocks

Mariliis Lehtveer

Mariliis Lehtveer

Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, University of Tartu, Narva mnt 4, 51009 Tartu, Estonia

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Martynas Pelakauskas

Martynas Pelakauskas

Institute of Physics, University of Tartu, Ravila 14c, 50411 Tartu, Estonia

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Cagatay Ipbüker

Cagatay Ipbüker

Institute of Physics, University of Tartu, Ravila 14c, 50411 Tartu, Estonia

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Mark Howells

Mark Howells

Division of Energy Systems Analysis, Department of Energy Technology, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Brinellvägen 68, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden

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H-Holger Rogner

H-Holger Rogner

Division of Energy Systems Analysis, Department of Energy Technology, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Brinellvägen 68, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Schlossplatz 1, A-2236 Laxenburg, Austria

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Anjana Das

Anjana Das

Consultant, Lauras A 22, Vatika City, Sector 49, Gurgaon, Haryana, India

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Ott-Siim Toomet

Ott-Siim Toomet

Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, University of Tartu, Narva mnt 4, 51009 Tartu, Estonia

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Alan H. Tkaczyk

Corresponding Author

Alan H. Tkaczyk

Institute of Physics, University of Tartu, Ravila 14c, 50411 Tartu, Estonia

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First published: 08 September 2015
Citations: 1

Present address of Mariliis Lehtveer is Department of Energy and Environment, Chalmers University of Technology, Maskingränd 2, 41296 Gothenburg, Sweden.

Abstract

Estonia is a relatively small country with a limited supply of indigenous energy resources mainly consisting of oil shale, wood, and peat. Estonia is also the only country in Europe with a dominant electricity production by burning oil shale. Around 90% of the overall electric energy production in Estonia comes from the Narva Power Plants. This presents great challenges and problems due to massive emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as well as radiological impact on the environment. Therefore, the current energy supply strategy can be considered hazardous and an unpopular choice for future energy system planning. In this article, we analyze the current energy policy as well as inclusion of new strategies to produce electricity for Estonia for a target year of 2035. We use a computer model Model for Supply Strategy Alternatives and their General Environmental Impacts (MESSAGE) to provide optimization and aim in helping the policymakers in the Estonian decision making process. We also add a specific case in the MESSAGE model to examine the ability of the current electricity supply strategy to handle climate related shocks with a special focus on cold weather in two plausible cases; single cold winter and prolonged cold winter. Results indicate that unexpected demand shocks may cause serious losses in gross domestic product (GDP). Therefore, the authors come to the conclusion that extra capacity is highly recommendable for a number of reasons. We also find that nuclear power becomes economically preferable to oil shale with a CO2 tax of €20/t. Yet moving toward nuclear or other low CO2 alternatives presents certain challenges. © 2015 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Environ Prog, 35: 469–478, 2016