The Minister of Finance Toomas Tõniste replied to the interpellation concerning the state budget funding of the investments of Eesti Energia (No. 453), submitted by members of the Riigikogu Aivar Sõerd, Jürgen Ligi, Aivar Surva, Urve Tiidus, Taavi Rõivas, Arto Aas, Ants Laaneots, Enn Meri, Henn Põlluaas, Meelis Mälberg, Lauri Luik and Kalle Palling on 24 October.
The interpellators referred to the fact that the State Budget for 2019 Bill provided for allocation of 143 million euro to Eesti Energia. The interpellators wished to know if, in the opinion of the Ministry of Finance, the money flows, own funds and borrowing capacity of Eesti Energia Ltd were not sufficient to fund the investments of 2019 from its own funds and loans.
Tõniste stressed that every real share capital contribution of Eesti Energia required a separate analysis, justification, and also decisions. “The share capital contribution planned for Eesti Energia in the state budget is not guaranteed to the company, but it provides the basis and opportunity to make such a decision when a suitable investment opportunity becomes available and capital is needed,” the Minister of Finance said. In his words, investment decisions can also be made even during this year, but they will mostly be made in 2019. “By the time they will be made, the funding, including the equity capital contribution will have to be guaranteed for the whole investment period. Therefore, investments must be viewed in a longer perspective than only the year 2019,” Tõniste explained. He added that, taking into account the company’s long-term financial forecasts and the limits of the financial ratios agreed upon with creditors, the owner’s expectations, including for proprietary income, the large-scale investments into both renewable energy and power networks as well as the oil factory planned in the coming years, and the expediency of maintaining a reasonable margin of safety, it may be reasonable for the owner to additionally capitalise Eesti Energia.
The Minister of Finance explained that, based on current estimates, the major investments planned were the following: base investments of 50 million euro per year to improve the reliability of the electricity distribution network in Elektrilevi, supplemented by the “last mile” project investments of 68 million euro in 2019–2022, and 120 million euro over the whole project lifetime, 20 million of which would be covered by state support. In renewable energy, both the owner’s expectations and Eesti Energia’s strategy foresee a significant growth, and Eesti Energia is intending to increase the share of electricity produced from renewable and alternative sources to 40 per cent already by 2022. To achieve this target, wind energy investments alone are planned to total up to 350 million euro. The estimated investment into the oil factory is around 200 million euro, Tõniste said.
The Minister of Culture Indrek Saar replied to the interpellation concerning the responsibility of the Minister of Culture in observing the budget discipline of cultural institutions (No 457) and the interpellation concerning the procedure in the election of a member of the Board of the state foundation “Eesti Kontsert”, and the conclusions drawn from the failure (No 458).
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Riigikogu Press Service
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