Minister of the Environment Tonis Molder (Center) said he would not rule out using hydrogen and nuclear energy as an alternative to oil shale.
Molder noted that while the new government had set its sights on exiting the production of oil shale energy and later oil shale in general as an energy source, the jobs the sector had created, along with social security, had been connected to Ida-Viru County for decades and changes could not come overnight.
“It is a long process, but we must set some goals as a nation,” Molder said.
Speaking on alternative energy sources, Molder pointed out that Estonia had progressed with its use of solar and wind energy over the last ten years and the plan was to continue on with developments.
“I would not rule out hydrogen as an alternative. The hydrogen strategy is an important part of our coalition agreement. It is a topic that the current coalition could move on with even faster. I would also not rule out nuclear energy, but it would require significantly more detailed studies and for fears, doubts and suspicions in society to be cleared,” Molder said.
Molder said the production of shale oil had to be looked at with a long-term perspective in mind, meaning if production could be made more environmentally friendly.
“I would not close the door on that completely. Yes, we have pointed out the year 2045 in the coalition agreement as a goal of us exiting shale oil production, but I think it is quite a long perspective and that in cooperation with Estonian scientists and foreign experts we could find new alternatives,” the environment minister said.
Molder also noted that the development of a new shale oil plant in Ida-Viru County would go on, but specific analyses must be conducted next year to see if the investment would be reasonable and profitable.
“When it comes to the new plant, the process has kicked off, we have agreed in the coalition that we will see it through, but there are details that need to be specified and that could change the situation significantly,” Molder said. (ERR/Business World Magazine)