How Lithuania made the leap towards green energy | Europe and the Europeans: news and analysis | DW

According to Eurostat, in 2018, the European Union’s share of energy from renewable sources (RES) averaged 18%, while in Lithuania this figure reached 24.5% (in 2010 – 19.6%).

Lithuanian experts say that Vilnius was able to achieve this result, first of all, due to the active use of solid biofuels (pellets and chopped wood) for the production of thermal energy used for heating housing stock. For other components of Lithuania’s success in using renewable energy, see DW.

use biofuels for heating

The head of the World Bioenergy Union, the head of the Lithuanian Green Party, Remigius Labinskas, names several reasons for Vilnius’ breakthrough in the use of renewable energy. “First, biofuels are increasingly being used to produce thermal energy in the country. Second, heat is supplied to city dwellers centrally,” notes Labinskas.

A quarter of Lithuania’s energy balance comes from green energy

The Ministry of Energy of Lithuania also agrees with his conclusions. A ministry spokesperson told DW that the heat supply accounts for more than 80% of the country’s total energy consumption from renewable sources. Labinskas believes that the achieved indicator – almost a quarter of the “green” energy in the energy balance – is a good result for Lithuania.

And if you look at its structure? According to the Lithuanian power system operator Litgrid, wind power plants in 2018 produced 54% of the total amount of “green” energy, solar – 4%, hydroelectric plants – 20%, and biogas biomass accounted for 11% and 7%, respectively. .

Assist Gazprom“?

The head of the Lithuanian Renewable Energy Union, Martinas Nagyevicius, told DW that the use of “green” energy in the country had received a boost in part due to the actions of Russia’s Gazprom. Until 2014, when the gas regasification unit began operating, thanks to which Lithuania could buy LNG, Gazprom was the main supplier of gas to Lithuanian power stations and constantly increased its price.

Arrival of LNG tanker in Klaipeda

Arrival of LNG tanker in Klaipeda

The fact that the authorities in Vilnius support the development of RES, in particular, support for the installation of solar panels, also played a role. Thus, the Ministry of Energy of Lithuania explained that for one kilowatt of electricity generated by solar panels, you can receive compensation of 323 euros.

Aistis Radavičius, director of the Lithuanian Association of Wind Farms, says that according to the association’s preliminary estimates, in 2019, wind farms produced about 13% of the country’s electricity needs. “If we work not in percentages, but in volumes of capacity, then in 2018, wind farms produced 1.45 TWh in Lithuania, and in 2019 – a record 1,453 TWh in the entire history of the country,” Radavičius added. According to him, this is about half of what households consume.

Plans of the Lithuanian authorities and private companies

In the field of “green” energy, Lithuanian private companies feel increasingly confident. Edmantas Bernathonis, a representative of the Dalis gero from Kaišiadorys, told DW that he became interested in wind energy in 2005.

According to him, the reason for the interest is the fact that at that time there was not a single modern wind power plant in Lithuania. In addition, past and present, Bernathonis believes that the future belongs to renewable energy. The businessman claims that the company will expand its activities and create two or three more wind farms.

For its part, the Lithuanian Ministry of Energy, in accordance with the National Strategy for the Development of Production and Use of Energy from Renewable Sources, undertakes in 2030 to increase its share in the total energy balance to 45%, and in 2050 – even higher to 80%. In 2050, according to forecasts of experts from the ministry, all heat for heating cities will be obtained from renewable energy sources.

Meanwhile, despite all the successes and ambitious plans, in the development of “green” energy, Lithuania lags behind its neighbors – Latvia and Estonia. In 2018, its share in the energy balance of Latvia was 40.9% and Estonia – 29.9%. Experts and representatives of the Ministry of Energy interviewed by DW attributed Vilnius’ delay to the fact that hydropower is being better developed in Latvia and Estonia.

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