Energy Resources

1. Interim report: Analysis of current situation

The greatest energy resource, and also the largest non-renewable energy resource in Estonia based on the statistics of 2013 is oil shale. Oil shale, according to presently known resources and technologies is also predicted as the largest energy resource to be for the years of 2030 and 2050. The largest renewable energy resource is wood, which will be also the largest source of renewable energy in the future. Besides the wood, the use of wind as another renewable energy resource is expected to rise by the growing amount of more offshore wind farms being constructed, as well as herbaceous biomass and solar energy will become more popular. If the oil shale reserves are rather weakly influenced by climatic conditions, and the main worry in mining is the amount of rainfall, the renewable energy resources on the other hand are directly and significantly affected by climatic factors. For instance, the supply and the use of energy wood is affected by the access to the wood stock (logging areas) and the moisture content of the wood, these depend on the following weather conditions - the freezing of the ground during winters; rainfall; snow cover and ground water levels. The availability of firewood is also affected by the storms- storm felled trees are mostly unsuitable for sawmill industries, thereby not made accessible for wider public via market chain. The energy resource which reserve is the most affected by the climate conditions is peat, directly dependent on the amount of rainfall. Herbaceous biomass (growth) is affected by rainfall occurrence (both drought and floods), temperature and the amount of light emitted. Availability of wind energy is largely dependent on the wind availability itself. Out of all the renewable energy sources, wind energy wins the most since during the coldest half of the year, the wind speed shows a clear upward trend. The hydropower energy is also directly dependent on the rainfall (water availability). On the other hand, the use of hydropower has quite some conservation restrictions, which is why hydropower development in Estonia does not have large perspectives.

2. Interim report: Climate change impact assessment (including analysis of possible risks and vulnerability)

Energy resources are in rather limited extent impacted by the expected climate change untill 2100. At the time of compiling the current report oil schale had the highest share in the primary energy usage among the energy resources of Estonia. Contrary to that the countrie’s renewable resources, like solar- and windenergy, have the highest usage potential. It was found that the changing climate will have positive as well as negative influences on the Estonian energy resources during the evaluation periood until 2100. In general the impact of climate change on the renewable resources is greater, than on fossil energy resources. This is due to the fact that the energy density of renewable resources is lower than that of the fossil fuels. Therefore these resources have to be gathered from a wider area and the impacts of climate change vary more even within one resource.

The renewable energy targets and trends lead to a bigger share of renewable energy in the overall energy portfolio. Concurrently to that also the vulnerability of energy resources will increase, since climate change has a bigger impact on renewable energy resoruces.

The appropriate timing, equipment and infrastructure is crucial to icrease the resilience to those impacts of the changing climate, this applies not only to renewable resources but also the harvesting of some fossil resources like peat. After the harvesting, the impact continues during the storage period, fuels that are stored unsheltered, generally lose in quality. The negative impact on fuel storage will increase during the evaluated period until 2100, because precipitation will increase and average temperatures will rise as well, which leads to higher moisture contents and faster decay.

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