Natural resources and energy
In northeastern Estonia there is one of the
world's largest recoverable oil shale stocks. It is used
partly to power electric and thermal power plants and
partly to extract oil and gas. Estonia also has Europe's
largest deposits of phosphorite, a feedstock for
fertilizers and other chemical products.
The oil shale accounts for about 90 percent of
Estonia's electricity supply and has made the country
almost independent of Russian energy, unlike the Baltic
neighboring countries. However, some Russian natural gas
is still being imported.
Major exports by Estonia with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
Estonia, like Lithuania and Latvia, aims to be fully
integrated into the European energy network from 2025
and then have completely detached from the dependence on
In Narva are some of the world's largest power plants
that extract electricity from oil shale. The raw
material is cheap but environmentally hazardous. A new
power plant from 2015 can also be fired with biomass.
Estonia has two power cables running under the Gulf
of Finland to Finland. They enable import and export of
electricity between the Baltic States and four countries
in the Nordic countries. Estonia's independence from
electricity and energy imports from Russia has been a
Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, EE stands for Estonia. Visit itypeusa for more information about Estonia.
The electricity market was deregulated in 2013 with
increased electricity prices as a result of long-term
government subsidies to the oil shale industry. Later,
however, electricity prices have fallen again.
Estonia has been one of Europe's worst air pollutants
per capita, as the oil shale causes large emissions of
carbon dioxide. High chimneys in Narva have spread the
pollution far, including to the lake area in
southeastern Finland. The new power plant from 2015 has
stringent environmental requirements, but about 90
percent of environmentally hazardous emissions in
Estonia still come from the extraction of oil shale. The
mine southwest of Narva is the world's largest of its
kind. Large areas of land are destroyed, the mines
spread for millions and the waste of ash, slag and slate
has grown into mountains.
About one-seventh of the electricity is extracted
from renewable energy sources, mainly biomass and wind
power. Solar power is under development.
Since 2013, Tallinn has provided free public
transport for local residents to limit motorism and
carbon dioxide emissions.
Environmental degradation was a decisive factor when
the Estonians began the struggle against the Soviet
regime in the late 1980s. At that time, the drinking
water was threatened by the oil shale mines, poor
wastewater treatment, large quantities of fertilizers
and aviation fuel dumped at the military bases. The
clean-up of the environment following the presence of
the Soviet troops in Estonia has been costly.
In Sillamäe outside Narva in the northeast, the
Soviet Union enriched uranium used in nuclear weapons
production. Large quantities of radioactive waste were
dumped near the Gulf of Finland and a complicated
clean-up work was carried out with, among other things,
Nordic aid. Sillamäe is now a leading processor of rare
earth metals such as tantalum and niobium.
At the former Soviet submarine base Paldiski on the
Baltic Sea, two obsolete nuclear reactors have been
discontinued and a large part of Estonia's wind power is
being produced outside Paldiski.
FACTS - ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
4,176 kilos of oil equivalents (2015)
Electricity consumption per person
6732 kilowatt hours, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
19 519 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
14.8 tonnes (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
27.5 percent (2015)
Ansip beats the record
When Luxembourg's Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker leaves office after
nearly 19 years, Estonia's Andrus Ansip becomes the incumbent Prime Minister of
Europe who held his office for the longest time, for just over eight and a half
years since April 2005.
The center party is strengthened in local elections
Opposition leader Edgar Savisaar's Center Party is successful in the local
elections, while Prime Minister Andrus Ansip's Reform Party is falling behind.
The center strengthens its own majority in Tallinn, where Savisaar is the mayor.
The Reform Party's Allied IRL is moving forward, and the Social Democrats are
increasing their national vote from 7.5 to 12.5 percent.
No to the Gender Equality Commission
Parliament says no to a parliamentary commission on gender equality. The
government then appoints a gender equality council with 22 members, who will
lead the work on increasing gender equality in Estonia. In addition to leading
politicians, the Vice-Chancellor of Tartu University will be included in the
Former security police spies suspected
A former employee of the Estonian Security Police is arrested on suspicion of
longstanding espionage for Russia. The arrested man worked for the Soviet
security service KGB in Soviet times. He is later sentenced to 15 years in
Scandals reduce the popularity of the ruling party
The ruling Liberal Reform Party receives weak support in public opinion after
several scandals in the party. Ahead of this fall's municipal elections, the
left-wing Center Party is leading strongly in the capital Tallinn, with 46
percent ahead of the right-wing Alliance IRL 14 percent, the Reform Party 13
percent and the Social Democrats 9 percent.
Voting shakes the ruling party
The reform party is shaken by internal conflict with demands on the party
leadership to redo an internal choice of party leadership, where voting fraud
was discovered. Prime Minister Andrus Ansip declares that he does not intend to
stand as party leader candidate again if the election is to be re-elected. The
Right Alliance IRL threatens to leave the government because of the repeated
scandals in the Reform Party.
Ex-minister is excluded from his party
The EU parliamentarian and former Foreign Minister Kristiina Ojuland are
excluded from the ruling Reform Party, accused of being behind a tangle of
voting fraud in an internal party. Ojuland denies the allegations and claims
that the party leadership is trying to make henna a scapegoat.
Prime Minister receives criticism for statement in Ukraine
Prime Minister Andrus Ansip visits Ukraine and makes a disputed statement
that Estonia and the EU's relations with Ukraine must not be invested in "a
single card, a single lady", a reference to imprisoned opposition leader Julia
Tymoshenko. Ansip receives criticism from several directions, and the chairman
of the Estonian Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee describes it as
thoughtless, saying that it does not benefit Ukraine's integration into Europe.
The liberalized electricity market raises costs
Estonia's electricity market is deregulated, leading to increased costs for
households after many years of cheap electricity prices thanks to government
subsidies to the oil shale industry.
Free public transport for the Tallinn residents
Tallinn will be the first capital in Europe to introduce free public
transport for local residents. According to the municipality, this is an
environmental and welfare issue.