The exceptionally warm winter reduced the energy use of buildings
In the first quarter of the year, the energy group Utilitas produced 680,000 MWh of heat and 90,000 MWh of electricity, of which more than 500,000 MWh of energy was produced from renewable sources. Compared to the first quarter of 2019, the share of green energy produced by Utilitas increased by 25%.
Although the volumes and share of the renewable energy increased, the extraordinarily warm and snowless winter had a direct impact on energy consumption, and the customers of Utilitas consumed 12% less heat in the first quarter than they did last year. All of the months of the first quarter were significantly warmer than usual and the average monthly temperatures did not drop below zero. January was particularly warm, being the warmest January in 59 years with an average air temperature of +3.1 °C.
‘Global warming is continuing at an accelerating pace and will directly impact the Estonian living environment. While the first quarter of 2019 was warmer than usual, the beginning of this year was even warmer. Utilitas has prioritised the promotion of using renewable energy to minimise the environmental footprint of energy consumption. We consider it important to strive towards climate neutrality regardless of the possible setbacks in the economic development of the world,’ said Priit Koit, CEO of Utilitas group.
In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the main focus of Utilitas is to ensure the uninterrupted provision of a vital service. ‘We have implemented additional measures in the group’s companies to prevent the spread of the disease, minimised human contacts, many of the employees have been sent to telework, and we have contributed to increasing the safety of those operational employees who cannot work from home,’ noted Koit. ‘The only way to achieve the fast normalisation of the situation is for the society to contribute as a whole,’ said Koit.
This year, Utilitas will invest 36 million euros in environmental protection and efficiency. ‘Most of it will be spent on the reconstruction of the heating pipelines, during which we will replace old depreciated pipes with new, pre-insulated pipes to prevent network failures. Both now and in the future, we are constantly on the lookout for opportunities to introduce innovative and environmentally friendly solutions,’ said Koit. ‘All our subcontractors have confirmed their compliance with the rules of conduct established due to the emergency situation and we believe that we can implement all projects as planned,’ he specified.
With the production of energy from renewable fuels, Utilitas reduced CO2 emissions by 185,000 tonnes in the first quarter, which would have been released into the atmosphere if natural gas and oil shale had been used instead. Cogeneration of heat and electricity and the use of renewable fuels in district heating helps to significantly reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases and thus contributes to impeding global warming.
Utilitas is the largest producer of renewable energy in Estonia, whose principal activities are the generation of heat and electricity and the provision of district heating services. The aims of Utilitas are clean and efficient generation of energy and the promotion of economical energy consumption. All district heating systems of Utilitas have been awarded the Efficient District Heating label. Utilitas provides district heating to around 5,000 buildings, including 173,000 households in eight cities across Estonia: Tallinn, Maardu, Keila, Rapla, Haapsalu, Kärdla, Jõgeva, and Valga.