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Today, the Riigikogu deliberated the issue of energy saving as a matter of significant national importance. Reports were by the Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Juhan Parts and Dean of the Faculty of Power Engineering of Tallinn University of Technology Tõnu Lehtla.

The Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Juhan Parts noted that energy saving is topical for several serious reasons. “The fossil fuel resources mainly used for energy production will be exhausted at one moment and until the humankind has no solution for covering its energy need in a long-term perspective, it is wise to avoid wasting. At the same time, the expediency of energy saving is obvious because of the fuel prices that have soared from their post-financial crisis low point. Energy efficiency is also one of the main solutions in the European energy and climate policy,” said Parts. He continued by saying that energy efficiency means using less input energy while maintaining an equal level of economic activities or service. Energy saving is a broader concept which includes also reduction of consumption through changes in behaviour. In order to improve energy efficiency, certain expenses have to be occurred at first, that is, investments in energy saving are needed. The Minister stressed that the issue of energy saving is topical in the European Union policy. Speaking about Estonia’s objectives, Parts said that the action plan “Estonia 2020”, approved by the Government some weeks ago, sets the objective to keep final consumption of energy on the same level with the energy consumption of 2010, that is, approximately 20 petajoules. This goal is the basis for the activities intended for energy saving set out in the Government’s action programme for 2011–2015. In Parts’ words, the greatest opportunities to improve energy efficiency lie in households, industry and in the field of transport. As regards energy sources, the motor fuel which accounts for 27 % of total energy consumption constitutes the largest share, followed by district heating and electricity, 23 % and 20 % respectively, and the remaining fuel types in total account for 30 %. Parts added that, as regards to buildings, then the technical potential of energy saving has been estimated to amount to 25% of the energy consumed there. In case of some groups of buildings, a saving of approximately 50% and maybe even more can be achieved. According to a poll of industrial enterprises, in industry, the energy saving potential is 10%, and in heat saving it is 30%. The special consumption of fuel by vehicles is similar to the average of vehicles in Scandinavian countries which at the same time is 20% higher than the European average. On the basis of these numbers, the Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications presented the following conclusions: 1) the priority of the saving policy of Eesti Energia is to improve the energy consumption efficiency in buildings, both at homes and in public buildings, 2) transport and industry also need great attention, and 3) Estonia’s energy saving potential is dispersed and, in order to achieve success, many energy consumers have to be dealt with and numerous small projects have to be carried out. Consequently, Estonia’s energy saving activity holds good opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises. Parts also gave an overview of what the state has done in the field of energy saving so far and pointed out important objectives for the future. In conclusion, the Minister welcomed the formation of the sustainable energy parliamentary group in the Riigikogu which will hopefully help ensure sufficient attention to energy saving issues for the coming years, in the Riigikogu as well as in the whole society.
 
Dean of the Faculty of Power Engineering of Tallinn University of Technology Tõnu Lehtla focused his report on the general aspects of energy efficiency. He spoke about the correlation of energy consumption and gross domestic product in the countries around the world, the relations between the human development index and electricity consumption, Earth’s energy balance, conversion of energy, the main problems of energy use, etc. “Energy saving, energy efficiency is directly related to optimisation of the energy system. The energy system is a whole and this must be taken into account at each moment of time by all who participate in it. This includes everybody, starting from producers of primary energy to the final consumer, and everybody must to a certain extent take responsibility for its effective functioning and take responsibility for losses. For that, a relevant economic mechanism is also needed. So it appears that optimising the energy system is a complicated task. It has to take into account supply security; it has to take into account technical and political risks and economic efficiency; energy, regional and world market prices, technological development, as well as the living and natural environment and human development,” explained Lehtla.
 
The Resolution on formation of the Estonian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) (18 OE), submitted by the Foreign Affairs Committee, was passed with 79 votes in favour. According to the Resolution, the Estonian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of NATO includes head of delegation Marko Mihkelson and members Sven Mikser, Mati Raidma and alternate member Kadri Simson.
 
The Resolution on formation of the Estonian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) (19 OE), submitted by the Foreign Affairs Committee, was passed with 78 votes in favour. According to the Resolution, the Estonian delegation to PACE includes head of delegation Andres Herkel and members Margus Hanson and Mailis Reps and alternate members Paul-Eerik Rummo, Indrek Saar and Ester Tuiksoo.
 
The Resolution on formation of the Estonian delegation to the Interparliamentary Assembly of the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Latvia and the Republic of Lithuania (the Baltic Assembly) (20 OE), submitted by the Foreign Affairs Committee, was passed with 81 votes in favour. According to the Resolution, the Estonian delegation to the Baltic Assembly includes head of delegation Laine Randjärv, deputy head of the delegation Aadu Must and members Aivar Kokk, Valeri Korb, Väino Linde, Rein Randver, Andre Sepp, Sven Sester, Neeme Suur, Jaanus Tamkivi, Ülo Tulik and Vladimir Velman.
 
The Resolution on formation of the Estonian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) (21 OE), submitted by the Foreign Affairs Committee, was passed with 82 votes in favour. According to the Resolution, the Estonian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE includes head of delegation Väino Linde and members Juku-Kalle Raid, Olga Sõtnik and alternate members Jaak Allik, Rait Maruste and Indrek Raudne.
 
The Resolution on appointment of members of the Supervisory Board of the State Forest Management Centre (30 OE), submitted by the Environment Committee, was passed with 48 votes in favour. According to the Resolution, the Supervisory Board of the State Forest Management Centre includes members of the Riigikogu Liisa-Ly Pakosta and Indrek Raudne. 15 members of the Riigikogu voted against the Resolution, nobody abstained.
 
The Resolution on removal of members and appointment of new members of the Supervisory Board of the Foundation Environmental Investment Centre (31 OE), submitted by the Environmental Committee, was passed with 81 votes in favour. According to the Resolution, Tõnis Kõiv, Erki Nool, Toomas Trapido and Margus Tsahkna were removed from the Supervisory Board of the Foundation Environmental Investment Centre. Siim Kabrits, Tõnis Kõiv, Rein Randver and Andrus Saare were appointed members of the Supervisory Board.
 
On the motion of the Finance Committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Liquid Fuel Act (24 SE), initiated by the Estonian Reform Party Faction and the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to enable a seller of the fuel released for consumption from an excise warehouse to apply for reduction of the security for the fuel already before 1 January 2013 similarly with sellers of the fuel released for consumption, in order to ensure the possibility of reducing the security on an equal basis for sellers. In the opinion of the initiators, this restriction on the reduction of the security of one million euro before 2013 places an excessive burden on the sellers of fuel who are operating legitimately and with regard to whom there is no need to apply reduction or reduction would be justified. The initiators find that the regulation of the Act is not moderate in that regard and is therefore in conflict with the principle of proportionality provided in the Constitution. The Estonian Centre Party Faction and the Social Democratic Party Faction moved to reject this Bill at the first reading. 49 members of the Riigikogu voted against the motion and 37 members voted in favour. Thus, the Bill was sent to the second reading.
 
For more details, read the verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian):
 
 
The Riigikogu Press Service
 
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