Offshore wind – another direction of renewable energy to strengthen local power generation in Lithuania

Date

2019 11 27

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On 26 November, Minister of Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas attended WindEurope Offshore 2019, the largest wind power conference and exhibition in Europe that is being held this year in Copenhagen (Denmark). During the event and in meetings with the largest wind energy companies in Europe, the minister presented the development of the Lithuanian wind power sector and opportunities for investors.

Mr Vaičiūnas participated in a discussion on the role of offshore wind as Europe moves towards a climate-neutral economy together with Luxembourg Minister for Energy Claude Turmes, European Commission Directorate-General for Energy Ditte Juul Jørgensen, French Director General of Energy and Climate Laurent Michel, and representatives from the big wind power companies.

Minister Vaičiūnas said that given the integrated National Energy and Climate Plans, Lithuania is among the five most ambitious countries in the European Union in terms of renewable energy targets for 2030. It is projected that by 2030, 45 per cent of the electricity consumed in Lithuania will be produced from renewable energy sources, with the most being wind power. This year has been a very good year for wind power in Lithuania – in the first half of 2019, wind farms produced a quarter more electricity than during the same period in 2018. In 2018, 13 per cent of the total energy consumed in Lithuania was produced from wind power.

“Lithuania stands out in the region for its long-term strategy and ambitious renewable energy targets. Offshore wind plays a particularly important role in achieving the goals set in the National Energy Independence Strategy to increase electricity generation in Lithuania, and Lithuania sees great potential for offshore wind development in the Baltic Sea. We are ready to work hard so that we have at least 700 MW of wind farms in operation on the Lithuanian coast by 2030,” said Minister Vaičiūnas.

In developing offshore wind energy, Lithuania will follow the Danish example of carrying out pre-selection of an area for the development of wind energy, its assessment, feasibility studies and other investigations necessary for holding auctions for offshore wind development. The first auctions could take place between 2022 and 2023, and the installed capacity could reach 700 MW by 2030. The priority marine territories for the development of wind farms identified in a study conducted last year by scientists from Klaipėda to assess the potential for offshore wind development in the Baltic Sea are 30-40 kilometres from the shore, with a total installed capacity of 3.35 GW. The infrastructure of Harmony Link, the HVDC submarine power cable linking Lithuania to Poland, is also planned to be used for connecting the wind farms.

The first auction for the development of green energy ended this week, and investor bids have already begun to be evaluated. The minister noted that in order to promote the highest possible competition and provide potential investors with as much clarity as possible, Lithuania has approved the auction schedule for the next three years, with one auction per year. There is therefore no doubt that the fierce competition at this auction is the result not only of Lithuania’s ambitious goals, but also of its consistent and focused steps towards their implementation.

Once the total amount of electricity auctioned is distributed, it is planned that by 2025, power plants using RES will produce up to 5 TWh of electricity, which is twice as much as in 2019. This means that at least 38 per cent of the electricity consumed in Lithuania will be produced from renewable sources, and the need for electricity imports will decrease by 30 per cent.

The annual WindEurope conference and exhibition brings together politicians, businesses, energy professionals, scientists and experts. This year, it will attract over 9,000 participants and will feature 250 top-level presentations and dozens of sessions to discuss opportunities for wind power development in Europe. This year’s conference was opened by Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark, with whom the Minister of Energy had a chance to rejoice in the excellent bilateral cooperation between Lithuania and Denmark and the new opportunities opening for energy cooperation.