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The President of the Republic's Academic Council discussed energy problems

President Arnold Rüütel today at Kadriorg chaired a session of the Academic Council of the President of the Republic.

The first presentation was made by Academician Mihkel Veiderma, who discussed the energy problem as the main problem of today's world. In the words of Veiderma, oil shale would still stay the main energy resource in Estonia for some time, and it is necessary to carry out a thorough inventory of oil shale resources and to modernise the current production technology. According to Academician Veiderma, the EU common energy policy is not yet effective, which is demonstrated for example by the Russian-German gas pipeline project. Mihkel Veiderma emphasised that the energy systems have to be flexible and enable greater security of energy supply, and in view of the future free energy market in Estonia, importance has to be attached also to the need to have an independent system administrator.

The second presentation was made by Vice-Rector of Research of the Estonian University of Life Sciences Andres Koppel, PhD (biology), who spoke about the potential of bioenergy in Estonia. In the words of Professor Koppel, among different forms of renewable energy, the share of biomass energy in the European Union is overwhelmingly biggest both at present and in the future. According to him, Estonia has not yet used its possibilities in that field, but in comparison with other states has great opportunities in the future. The most essential argument in favour of extensive utilization of bioenergy is that there is a lot of land, which is not in use - Estonia is a country that in the last ten years has lost more arable land than any other country in Europe, in the period 1991-2003, more than 50 per cent of arable land fell out of use.

Member of Academy Endel Lippmaa made a presentation on present and future opportunities of energy production in Estonia. According to him, Estonia should utilise all its oil shale deposits right now, as they would be useless in 50 years time. He also expressed opinion that the more independent Estonia’s energy industry is the better it is. Endel Lippmaa pointed out that in case of any kind of energy production primary consideration should be given to profitability and not to production efficiency. Academician Lippmaa singled out nuclear energy as prospective energy source.

Following the presentations, there was a discussion where recognised Estonian energy specialists from government agencies and energy companies participated. Among other issues, it was pointed out that several big non-Kyoto states were planning to increase their coal production by several times in near future. Academician Veiderma thanked the President of the Republic for handling energy problems, and stated that over the past years, there has been no such in-depth discussion with the participation of specialists, neither at the level of legislators nor government.

Public Relations Department of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, February 28, 2006

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