Wind Power in Lithuania

Growth then flattened out, with just a handful of MW added each year until 2009 when a remarkable 37 MW of additional wind power capacity came online.

Today, the total Lithuanian wind energy capacity stands at 91 MW. “This is an impressive rate of growth,” Jacopo Moccia, Regulatory Affairs Advisor at EWEA said. According to EWEA’s calculations, by 2020 the country could have up to 1,100 MW in place, which would mean approximately 85 MW of new capacity installed each year up until then.

With a wind power boom in sight, Lithuania is well on course to meet its 2020 renewable energy target – a 23% share of renewable energy in the overall mix. Right now wind turbines accounts for just under 2%, but this should rise to 13% by 2020. A government document forecasting the increase in renewable energy said: “In Lithuania, wind turbines are one of the fastest growing renewable energy technologies”.

Not only is the government’s drive to boost renewable energy spurred by EU targets, but also by Lithuania’s dependence on Russian gas for its electricity and heating.

Up until the end of 2009, Lithuania was self-sufficient in energy with one nuclear power plant meeting about 70% of the country’s electricity demand. However, the Ignalia plant was doomed since it was designed along lines very similar to those of the failed Chernobyl plant. In its 2004 European Union accession agreement, the Lithuanian government agreed to shut down the plant – and this happened at 11pm on 31 December 2009 – leaving an energy vacuum for Gazprom to fill.

Lithuania’s dependence on Russia is heightened by the fact that its electricity grid has little interconnection with other countries in central or northern Europe, making it, effectively and energy island.

From 2007, the government set out to incorporate renewable energies in its national energy strategy. National laws include a feed-in tariff of around €87 per MW. The country’s wind farms are mostly situated near its Baltic coast, and in the southern region.

Although Lithuania’s shores border one of the biggest prospective sources of energy in Europe – offshore wind power from the Baltic Sea – the country is yet to explore offshore wind. Before this can happen, new rules must be designed to support offshore wind power
and new infrastructure must be built.

With this untapped source of energy on its doorstep, the country’s potential for wind power could rise considerably, starting from 2020 or 2030.

By Zoë Casey, Wind Directions,

Estonia sells most of its wind energy to Latvia

Producers of wind energy in Estonia sold about 90% of their output last year to Latvenergo Kaubandus, the branch of the Latvian power company Latvenergo in Estonia, which then exported it, according to newspaper reports.

According to the Estonian transmission grid company Elering, the output of wind farms that reached the power grid during 2009 was 172 gigawatt-hours (GWh), of which 150 GWh was bought and exported by Latvenergo Kaubandus.

What made Estonian wind energy competitive in Latvia was its price, which was nearly a quarter lower than the price of electricity produced using traditional means, the Wind Energy Association said.

The Governments of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia have signed an agreement to cooperate in a UNDP Global Environment Facility (GEF) project to identify the existing barriers to the development of commercial-scale wind power production in the Baltic States, and define measures for their removal.

According to preliminary estimates, the overall wind power potential along the coastal areas of the Baltic States are similar to some of the best sites in Germany and Denmark, but the resource remains largely under-utilized.

Implementation of this project presents an important opportunity for Lithuania to fulfill its commitment to the UNFCCC, contributing to the global efforts to take actions against the growing rate of climate change.

On December 2, 2003, the Baltic Wind Atlas has been presented at a conference "Perspectives of Wind Energy Development in Lithuania".

The Atlas has been developed under the framework of UNDP / GEF Project "Regional Baltic Wind Energy Programme". The data measured during the period of one year has been analyzed according to Wind Atlas Method by Riso National Laboratory of Denmark. It is the first Wind Atlas for the Baltic States.