Estonian town of Tartu to consume only renewable energy

Tartu, Estonia’s second-largest town, is planning to consume only green electricity from 2021.

In 2015, Tartu’s local authority established an action plan for the town’s sustainable energy economy, the strategic goal of which is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions related to energy consumption. Based on this goal, Tartu will conclude an agreement for the purchasing of electricity, which will increase the share of green electricity to one hundred percent starting in 2021.

The town’s deputy mayor, Raimond Tamm, said in a statement that by transitioning completely to green electricity, “Tartu is taking a very big step towards becoming a carbon-neutral local government, because electricity generated from non-renewable sources comprises the largest share of our current carbon emissions”.

“The next big challenge for us is the introduction of renewable fuels in connection with important services procured by the city, such as waste transport and street maintenance, although the possibility of this transition still needs to be analysed,” Tamm added.

A contract will be concluded for the purchasing of electricity for street lighting, town institutions, as well as nursery schools and schools.

Already today, only renewable energy is being used in Tartu’s public transport – all town’s buses run on biogas, and the wheels of the bicycles in Tartu’s Smart Bike Share are powered with the help of green electricity. In street lighting, energy-intensive sodium lamps are gradually being replaced by energy-efficient LED lamps. The municipal buildings rely predominantly on district heating, with nearly 85% being produced from renewable energy sources.

The cover photo by Ahto Sooaru.

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