Ministry laying the foundations for wind power in the Baltic Sea

Date

2019 07 18

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In order to achieve the state’s strategic renewable energy targets and exploit the potential of offshore wind in the Baltic Sea to this end, scientists from Klaipėda University commissioned by the Ministry of Energy conducted a comprehensive analysis of offshore wind development in the Baltic Sea.

Klaipėda University’s Marine Research Institute identified the marine territories, where the development and operation of wind farms would be expedient. The “Study for the Identification of Priority Parts of Lithuania’s Territorial Sea and/or the Lithuanian Exclusive Economic Zone in the Baltic Sea where the Development of Power Plants Using Renewable Energy Sources is Expedient” will become the basis for developing offshore wind energy in Lithuania.

In order to promote local power generation from renewable energy, the National Energy Independence Strategy provides for the development of wind power in the Baltic Sea. The related work is also provided for in the Government Programme Implementation Plan.

“Offshore wind is one of the most promising and effective sources of renewable energy, and many countries are looking at its development. Our goal is to lay a solid foundation for the development of offshore wind in the Baltic Sea and to maximize the potential of offshore wind,” says Minister of Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas.

It has been identified that approximately 3.35 GW of wind power capacity can be installed in Lithuania’s Baltic Sea territory. These are the maximum possible capacities, but the concrete scenarios will depend on infrastructure and financial development conditions.

The study has shown that the best location for offshore wind development is 30 km from the shore of Šventoji, where wind speeds reach 9–10 m/s and the sea depth is 25–40 m. Infrastructure corridors extend alongside.

The study presents an analysis of the floor, depth and hydro-meteorological conditions of the Baltic Sea: wind, waves, flows, temperature, salinity. Comprehensive summaries were drawn up about biodiversity research and observation data, and intelligence engineering and geological surveys. Existing and planned shipping routes were also identified, as well as port development plans, engineering facilities, and cultural heritage and marine history sites.

Having regard to the above-mentioned information and existing national security requirements and restrictions, Lithuania’s marine territories were divided into zones where wind power could be developed.

The study presents the wind farms of various capacities that could be installed in the different zones, and assesses their development potential and how long it will take to prepare for their expansion. The experts provided the Ministry of Energy with proposals for a few alternative areas in the marine territories that could be used to develop wind farms with capacities of 200, 300, 400 or 500 megawatts (MW). In total, the experts evaluated the potential to develop wind farms with a combined capacity of up to 3350 MW.

During the next stage, the Lithuanian Energy Agency (LEA) will initiate preparation of a special plan for the territory and a strategic environmental impact assessment. The research conducted and the modelling results will also help LEA experts to conduct a feasibility study for connecting to onshore electricity transmission networks, as well as an economic cost–benefit analysis of the development of offshore wind.

Once these preparatory works are done, preparation will begin of proposals regarding the parts of the marine territories and the power capacities proposed to be developed therein, a description of the permits to use marine territories for the development of wind farms, and tendering procedures. These documents will have to be approved by the Government.

Once the decisions are made on wind farm capacities and development sites, financing decisions will be taken. According to preliminary estimates, wind farms in the Baltic Sea could begin producing electricity by 2030.