The Riigikogu on Tuesday passed a bill of amendments to the Natural Gas Act and other laws, which seek to ensure the resilience of the Estonian gas supply system and the roles of market participants in the event of potential supply disruptions and shortage of supply.

The amendments create a regulation to ensure the continuity of the gas system and to cover the costs related to the storage of a strategic gas reserve. According to the amendments, from May 1, 2023, the costs of managing the gas reserve will be covered from the stockpiling fee collected from balance providers. Since the gas reserve will be established by the fourth quarter of this year, the costs of storage for the first year will be covered from the state budget.

The amendments also specify the obligation to coordinate the conditions for the use and the methodology for calculating the tariffs for the use of LNG terminals. The Competition Act was amended by adding a regulation concerning the obligation of LNG terminal operators to contribute to the budget of the Competition Authority as regulated persons.

In addition, the amendments impose an obligation on parties establishing wind power stations to pay a charge to local governments and local residents from July 1 next year to facilitate renewable energy generation. According to the amendment, people residing up to three kilometers from a land-based wind turbine will begin to receive a charge in an amount of up to six months’ minimum wage.

In the case of offshore wind farms, the local government whose coastline is closer than 20 kilometers to a wind farm will receive a charge calculated according to a formula. Fishery undertakings will begin to receive a compensation in the case when their catch diminishes because of a wind power station. The obligation to pay a wind turbine charge will not extend to the wind farms that are already operating.

The bill was passed in the 101-seat chamber by votes of 55 to 18.