ESTONIA: Nelja Energia launches biogas developments14.06.2012, 18:23
The Estonian-Norwegian renewable energy company Nelja Energia has expanded to a new field of energy production by launching construction of a biogas plant in Oisu village, Central Estonia.
The plant will use the biogas extracted from manure produced by nearby farms of Estonia OÜ, one of the largest farms of Estonia. The plant's production capacity is both 1.2 MW of power and heat, and it is expected to produce annually 9,800 MWh of electricity and a similar amount of heat, consuming 125,000 tonnes of solid and liquid manure a year.
The plant's construction started in June and it is expected to be operational in the autumn. It will be operated by Oisu Biogaas, a joint enterprise of Nelja Energia (40%) and Estonia OÜ (60%).
According to Kalle Kiigske, member of the board of Nelja Energia, the company has planned erecting biogas-fuelled co-generation plants for years. "It is a very perspective solution. At the same time, it is also quite an investment-intensive solution, and this is also the reason why the first plant's construction starts only now," he says to news2biz. "This particular project also received support from the EU."
The total investment in the plant reaches EUR 4.9m, of that the European Regional Development Fund provides EUR 0.9m. The generated electrical power will be sold on the open market by Nelja Energia, while the heat energy will be used to heat the settlement of Oisu.
Similar project is in development by Nelja Energia in Vinni, the county of Lääne-Virumaa. The Vinni plant's capacity is 1.36 MW of electricity and 1.41 MW of heat. "The Vinni plant is in the similar development stage as the plant in Oisu, also under construction at the moment," says Kiigske. The Vinni plant, also partly financed by the EU, is also expected to fire up in the autumn.
Biogas extraction tanks of the power and heat
co-generation plant. Photo: BioConstruct
The equipment for both biogas plants is provided by the German BioConstruct, for whom the projects are the first in the region. news2biz will inquire the Melle, Niedersachsen-headquartered company about their plans in the Baltics in one of the upcoming issues.
In addition to the plants in Vinni and Oisu, Nelja Energia has several biogas projects in the pipeline. "We have chosen about ten potential locations for biogas plants all over Estonia," says Kiigske.
Further developments frozen
"However, the development of these projects as well as our other projects in Estonia depends on the outcome of the current row of cutting renewable power subsidies," says Kiigske, referring to the ongoing dispute between the ministries of environment and economy, of whom the first wants to cut the subsidies while the other disagrees.
"Until this issue is clear we do not launch any new projects. We finish the ongoing projects, but all the new ones are shelved at the moment, and all other developers are doing the same as far as I'm concerned."
In the other Baltic countries, Nelja Energia also plans wind farms and biogas plants. The company has three wind farms in Lithuania with the total capacity of 39.8 MW, the latter of which, Silale, was launched just in the beginning of June (see the upcoming issue of news2biz LITHUANIA).
In Estonia, the company operates nine wind farms with the total capacity of 114.4 MW. Two wind farms in Estonia, Ojaküla (6.9 MW) and Paldiski (22.5 MW), are under construction, one 50 MW park in Dundaga, Latvia and one 100 MW park in Silute, Lithuania are in the planning stage along with the 700 MW offshore farm near the island of Hiiumaa in Estonia.
"When comparing the schemes of subsidising renewable energy in all three countries, Lithuania has the best scheme: it is simple, logical and transparent. The Estonian subsidies system is the second best, while the Latvian scheme is rather too complicated. In fact, all three systems are quite different and have their pros and cons, but if I have to pick a winner, this is Lithuania," says Kiigske.
Nelja Energia belongs to the Norwegian Vardar Eurus (60%), the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development or EBRD (11%) and Estonian investors (29%). In the spring, the investors behind Nelja Energia cleared the structure of their renewable operations in the Baltics by consolidating everything under one firm: Nelja Energia (see no 334 page 6).