Latvia Fast-Tracking Renewable Projects For Energy Security

Country Overview

The North European country of Republic of Latvia is bordered by Estonia, Russia, Lithuania, and the Baltic Sea. The population of Latvia is approximately 1.83 million people.

Latvia declared its independence from the Soviet Union on May 4, 1990, Latvia became a member of the European Union (EU) in 2004.

In 2022, Latvia’s economy was ranked 98th in the world in gross domestic product (GDP). The country’s economy is dependent on the export of sawn wood, wheat, broadcasting equipment, packaged medicaments, and fuel wood.

Environmental Policies

In 2009, Latvia 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, Latvia and other members the EU signed the Paris Climate Agreement. The EU committed to a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emission by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

Power Generation Capabilities

In 2021, 100% of the people in Latvia had access to electricity. In 2022, state-owned utility, Latvenergo used renewable energy (72.1%), and natural gas (27.1%) to generate electricity in Latvia. Hydropower and biofuel are the dominant types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Latvia.

Recent renewable energy projects in Latvia include:

  • 200 MW Wind + Solar Hybrid Project – Lithuanian energy company Ignitis is continuing work on a hybrid wind and solar project in Latvia. The project is forecast to be commissioned by year-end 2028
  • 110 MW Solar Project –Danish renewable energy company European Energy is continuing work on a solar project at a site approximately 100 miles west-northwest of the nation’s capital, Riga. The project is forecast to be commissioned by year-end 2024
  • 100 MW Solar Project – Lithuanian renewable energy company Green Genius is continuing work on a solar project at a site approximately 85 miles southeast of Riga. Project is forecast to be commissioned in 2024.

Conclusions

Latvia imports the majority of the nation’s fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) for power generation, heating, and transportation. In 2021, Latvia imported U.S. $1.85 Billion of refined petroleum and U.S. $688 Million of 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.

On 30 July 2022, Russian energy company, Gazprom halted natural gas exports to Latvia for refusing to pay in the official Russian currency, rouble.

Latvia’s national priority is to be independent of all Russian fossil fuels. Latvia has significant undeveloped renewable energy resources, including offshore wind, onshore wind, solar, biomass, and hydropower. Latvia is fast-tracking green, low cost renewable energy projects to ensure energy security.

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 numerous energy related topics.

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