Utilitas produced 95% of its energy from renewable fuels in the third quarter

In the third quarter of 2020, Utilitas, Estonia’s largest renewable energy producer, produced 160,000 MWh of heat energy and 96,000 MWh of electricity, of which 95% was produced from renewable sources.

Photo: Utilitas Tallinn Elektrijaam and solar power plant.

In the third quarter, the customers of the group consumed 133,000 MWh of heat energy, which is 9% less than in the same period last year. The decline in consumption was due to a warmer September compared to the previous year and the reduction in consumption in hotels and other public buildings due to COVID-19.

Electricity production increased by 14,000 MWh in the same period last year, which means an increase of 17%. The growth of electricity generation was made possible by the construction of additional capacities. In addition to cogeneration plants, Utilitas operates the largest solar power plant in the capital within the city limits of Tallinn, which produced 430 MWh of electricity in the third quarter.

By using renewable energy sources, Utilitas has limited its CO2 emissions by almost 524,000 tons in nine months, compared to producing the same amount of energy from gas and oil shale. This is comparable to the emissions of 170,000 average-mileage cars over the same period.

‘In September, the European Commission unveiled an ambitious new plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 instead of 40%. The energy sector has a leading role in this process – efficiency must be increased and new renewable energy capacities must be introduced,’ said Priit Koit, the Head of the Utilitas Group.

‘Utilitas has a clear strategy for meeting the climate goals. We have opened and are opening new solar parks and have replaced fossil fuels with biomass as much as possible, using, as fuel, forest and wood industry waste that would not otherwise be used. We are also actively exploring the possibilities of building wind energy capacities,’ Koit explained.

In the first three quarters of the year, 44 new buildings have joined the district heating networks of Utilitas with a thermal capacity of 17 MW. As at the end of September, Utilitas supplied 4,977 buildings with district heating, including almost 174,000 households.

‘In addition to offering district heating services, we are actively developing district cooling services and building district cooling infrastructure in Tallinn. The Fahle Quarter was the first to join and development work is underway in the direction of Ülemiste City and Tallinn city centre. District cooling is an efficient and highly reliable method of cooling that will meet environmental requirements even after decades,’ said Koit.

In 2020, Utilitas will invest up to 35 million euros in the efficiency of energy production, environmental sustainability, and arrangement and construction of heating networks.

Utilitas produces heat and electricity and offers district heating services in eight cities across Estonia: Tallinn, Rapla, Haapsalu, Kärdla, Valga, Jõgeva, Keila, and Maardu. The length of Utilitas’ thermal energy networks exceeds 530 kilometres. The companies of the Utilitas Group operate 27 boiler plants, three combined heat and power stations using biomass, and one solar power plant. The group includes the district heating companies AS Utilitas Tallinn, AS Utilitas Eesti, and OÜ Utilitas Tallinna Elektrijaam, which produces heat and electricity in Tallinn.