August 10 (Renewables Now) - Estonian state-owned energy company Eesti Energia AS announced on Tuesday that it has started making plans to build an up to 225-MW pumped-storage hydropower plant at a closed oil shale mine in Estonia’s Ida-Viru County.
The final size and profitability of the investment will be determined once Eesti Energia finalises the preliminary design and the environmental impact assessment, which the company says are under way.
The plan includes building the plant’s upper reservoir on a waste rock structure, and using the closed mine as the lower reservoir. The height between the two reservoirs will be increased by reusing waste rock from the enrichment process of rock mass from oil shale mining, Eesti Energia said in the announcement.
“The project is unique because, as far as Eesti Energia is aware, oil shale or coal mines have not been used as water reservoirs for hydroelectric power plants,” the company stated.
The facility will be Estonia’s first pumped-storage hydroelectric power plant. Once in operation, it will contribute to the country’s energy security after desynchronization from the Russian energy system.
"In view of the connection to the continental European electricity system planned for 2026 at the latest, it is extremely important that the necessary energy markets and production or storage assets are created in the Baltic States to ensure the security of supply as greenly and cheaply as possible," said Margus Vals, a member of the management board of Eesti Energia.
Eesti Energia expects that have the plant up and running in 2026.