Lithuania’s experience with prosumers presented in Paris

Date

2019 12 05

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Today (5 December), Minister of Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas is in Paris to attend the International Energy Agency (IEA) Ministerial Meeting that is held every two years. Lithuania’s accession to this prestigious energy organisation was discussed during a meeting with IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol.

Mr Vaičiūnas participated in a ministerial discussion on the future of energy – increasing the involvement of energy consumers and digitalisation of the energy sector. This topic is gaining increasing attention, since empowering consumers to play an active role in energy processes is considered to be one of the key factors in achieving climate neutrality.

“In its national energy strategy, Lithuania pays special attention to the active participation of energy consumers in the energy sector, from opportunities for them to produce green and clean electricity themselves, to smart, digitised solutions that will help people change their energy consumption habits and save energy. Active consumers who make their own decisions will dramatically change the energy of the future, and we already have to lay a solid foundation for that now,” said Minister Vaičiūnas.

The minister accented that the national energy strategy states that by 2030, 30 per cent of electricity consumers in Lithuania will be prosumers, i.e. they will produce their own electricity, and by 2050, prosumers will account for 50 per cent of total consumers.

In the discussion, it was noted that in order to achieve this goal, Lithuania has developed a unique system of remote or virtual power plants which allows anyone to quickly and easily become a prosumer. Financial incentives are also in place.

“We have turned the two challenges we found in Lithuania three years ago – inadequate local power generation and passive consumers – into new opportunities for the state and residents alike. We have created a system that is simple, attractive and allows everyone to have their own power station. This is the fundamental and most important way to implement what we often discuss – decentralisation of the energy system,’’ emphasised Mr Vaičiūnas during the discussion.

In the meeting with IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol, the minister discussed what will come next in Lithuania’s accession to the IEA. In June, the IEA Governing Board approved Lithuania’s request to join this organisation. Admission to this organisation is international recognition of the state in the energy sector. It usually takes up to five years to join this organisation, but Lithuania is ready to implement the membership requirements as soon as possible so that it can reap the benefits of IEA membership and expertise. The IEA’s expertise and experience is of particular relevance to Lithuania in accelerating changes in the energy sector, looking for optimal solutions in the transition to climate-neutral energy, strengthening the national energy innovation policy, and increasing energy efficiency.

“Lithuania is ready to work together with the IEA and its member states to find the best solutions to meet the challenges of climate change. I am pleased that even though we are not yet members of the IEA, we are invited to a meeting of this level, and Lithuania is highly regarded for its ambitions, achievements and focused energy policy. The IEA is the force behind many of the necessary changes in the energy sector, and I am confident that Lithuania will not only reap the benefits of membership in this organisation, but will also make its own contribution so that the IEA can maximally address today’s and tomorrow’s biggest energy challenges. Today’s meeting is the best proof of that,” says Minister Vaičiūnas.

The IEA was established in 1974 in the framework of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which Lithuania joined in 2018. This authoritative energy organisation unites 30 member states, including the world’s strongest economies – the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the Netherlands and others. Of Lithuania’s neighbouring countries, Estonia and Poland belong to the IEA.