The aim of the agency is to reduce residents' expenditures on energy and to animate the building and real estate sector by supporting construction of energy-saving houses. The agency will also analyze energy sector trends and market changes, and hold emissions quota auctions, Marek Strandberg, the president of the council of agency says. The two main tasks are to analyze the trends of energy and climate changes and apply appropriate measures of sustainable development. The budget of the Energy and Climate Agency for 2010 is 5,7 million Euros.
Until now the public opinion has been rather negative towards this initiative, namely towards establishing such a costly project at the time of financial crisis. Member of Estonian parliament Kadri Simson wrote in her blog that the Estonian students needed the 5,7 million Euros more than the new agency, and former minister of interior affairs Kalle Laanet claimed that the money should have been given for salaries of fire-fighters instead. Readers of online newspapers have commented that the Estonian government is not at all concerned by climate change and the motivation behind the initiative is to win the sympathy of the green party, which is in opposition in the parliament.
However the energy and climate agency has been founded and is in full operation now, Marek Strandberg, the chairman of the council of agency says. Currently we research the general public procurement of ministries and offer consulting on how to build better energy-saving houses (schools, orphanages, nursing homes etc).
High technology saves energy
Buildings consume approximately 40% of Estonia’s total energy, including residential houses built in the soviet time, and the agency needs to propose complex solutions for renovating these buildings. At the moment many of these buildings are only partially renovated, a new roof for example can save about 15% of energy, but high technology and complex solutions could save up to 500% of the energy spenditure, Marek Strandberg claims.
Even though the general opinion is still seasoned with a grain of salt, Marek Strandberg is full of hope. He gives lectures at the Estonian Art Academy and has noticed that most of the students pay high respect to sustainable development.
„Hopefully young Estonians will learn to admire the cities of future - Masdar City in Abu Dhabi emirate, where the 50 000 city dwellers and 1200 companies get all their energy from solar batteries. Strandberg would also recommend more young Estonians to study at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, cooperating with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The representatives of the Masdar institute have visited Tallinn Technological University last month and have offered several full scholarships to Estonian young people.