Power company Eesti Energia is to close part of its operations at the Narva power plants in eastern Estonia, leading to around 150 job losses.
Some older electricity generation blocks have to be decommissioned in line with requirements of the EU Industrial Emissions Directive.
The move also means the proportion of electricity generated from oil shale burning will fall, and with it oil shale mining activities.
The Narva power plants have a total of four energy blocks that are limited in time to the end of the working life of the EU Industrial Emissions Directive,” said Raine Pajo, Eesti Energia board member.
”These power units have been in operation for about 50 years now. The exact timescale for this depends on the electricity market and the situation with the CO2 emissions regulations,” added Mr Pajo.
About 65% of those workers being laid off are eligible for a pension, the company says, with a further 10% being offered a company pension. The remainder are to be offered retraining funds in accordance with the law, it is reported.
Much of lost capacity can be made up
The blocks became due for closure in 2011 when the emissions directive came into effect, though they were permitted to work for a further 17,500 hours, or until around the end of 2023, under the directive’s terms.
The closure will see 600 MW of capacity lost, in part offset by the relatively new 300 MW Auvere power plant, built in 2011 in conjunction with French power company Alstom, and two Narva power plants with a 425 MW capacity which were refurbished in the mid-2000s. Total capacity at the Narva power stations combined will come to 1,500 MW after the closure, it is reported.
In 2007, the Narva power plants accounted for 95% of Estonia’s electricity generation. Eesti Energia has pursued expansion into renewables, including the acquisition of Nelja Energia in 2018, operating wind turbines at the Paldiski wind farm via its Enefit Green subsidiary.
Russian and Belarusian power firms have recently been exploiting EU emissions laws, which they are not subject to, and have been supplying the Baltic market via the Nord Pool European electrical market, undercutting prices.