Renewables Key To Lithuania’s Energy Independence

National Economy

The European country of the Republic of Lithuania is bordered by Russia, Latvia, Belarus, Poland, and the Baltic Sea. The population of Lithuania is approximately 2.61 million people[1].

On March 11, 1990, the Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania[2] proclaimed the independence of the country, which had been occupied by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) since June 1940. Lithuania became a member of the European Union (EU) in 2004.

In 2022, Lithuania’s economy was ranked 85th in the world in gross domestic product (GDP)[3]. The country’s economy is dependent on the export[4] of refined petroleum, furniture, wheat, laboratory reagents, and rolled tobacco.

Environmental Policies

In 2009, Lithuania and other members of the European Union (EU) committed to the Renewable Energy Directive,” which requires each country to use renewable energy for 20% of its total energy needs by 2020 and 27% by 2030.

In 2016, Lithuania and other members the EU signed the “Paris Climate Agreement”[5]. The EU committed to a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emission by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

Power Generation Capabilities

In 2020, 100% of the people in Lithuania had access to electricity[6]. In 2022, utilities used renewable energy (74.8%), natural gas (14.6%), and refined petroleum (10.6%) to generate electricity in Lithuania[7]. Wind, biomass, hydropower, and solar are types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Lithuania.

Recent renewable energy projects in Lithuania include:

  • 700 MW Offshore Wind Project Tender – The Lithuanian Ministry of Energy has announced it issue a tender in 2023 for an offshore wind project with 700 MW capacity. The wind project must be developed at a pre-determined site, approximately 24 miles offshore and be operational by year-end 2028.
  • 121 MW Onshore Wind Projects – In December 2021, Danish renewable energy company, European Energy commissioned three wind projects at sites approximately 50 miles north of the country’s capital, Vilnius.
  • 110 MW Pumped Hydropower Storage Project – Lithuanian state-run energy group, Ignitis Group is continuing work on increasing the 900 MW Kruonis Pumped Storage Plant by another 110 MW. The pumped storage plant is located approximately 20 miles west-southwest of Vilnius. The project is forecast to be completed in 2026.
  • 80 MW Onshore Wind Projects – Estonian renewable energy company, Enefit Green is continuing work on the Kelme I wind project at a site approximately 300 miles north of Vilnius. The project is forecast to be commissioned by year-end 2024.
  • 9 MW Offshore Wind Project In December 2021, Lithuanian renewable energy company, E. Energija commissioned an offshore wind project at a site approximately 155 miles northwest of Vilnius.
  • 4 MW Solar Project – In October 2020, Lithuanian utility AB Ignitis gamyba commissioned a solar project at a site approximately 40 miles northwest of Vilnius.

Conclusions

Lithuania imports fossil fuels (crude oil, coal, and natural gas) for power generation, heating, and transportation. In 2021, Lithuania imported U.S. $2.93 Billion for crude oil[8] and U.S. $1.55 Billion for electricity.

On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, prompting the European Union, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand to place economic sanctions on Russian imports and exports. As a result, the crude oil and natural gas prices increased by over 50% from May 2021 to May 2022.

In 2021, Lithuania used fossil fuels to generate 91.2% of the nation’s electricity. The majority of Lithuania’s fossil fuels were imported from Russia. In 2022, Lithuania used fossil fuels to generate only 25.2% of the nation’s electricity.

The European Union now knows not to become dependent on Russian fossil fuels. Lithuania is rapidly nearing its goal of generating 80% of its electricity from renewable energy. Lithuania’s energy independence is dependent on clean, reliable renewable energy.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jackkerfoot.com

 

Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio, podcast, and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on a diverse range of energy issues.

[1] Lithuania Population (2023) –  June 7, 2023, www.worldometers.info

[2] The Baltic Revolution; Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and The Path to Independence, Anatol Lieven, 1993

[3] Gross Domestic Product By Country 2022 – Worldometer

[4] The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) – Lithuania

[5] Carbon Brief – “2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”

[6] World Bank, “Access To Electricity (% Population – Lithuania

[7] Our World In Data, Lithuania: Energy Country Profile by Hanna Ritchie and Max Roser

[8] The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) – Lithuania Imports

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