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Lithuania

Lithuania

Europe 2020 targets - Lithuania

LITHUANIA: Like its neighbours, Lithuania has ambitious plans with regard to renewable energy targets set by the EU. Its National Renewable Energy Action Plan sets out to exceed the EU renewable energy target by 1%, meaning that 24% of the country's energy should come from renewable sources by 2020. Even better, Lithuania's 2020 target could be met as early as 2017, says the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). Lithuania expects to generate 21% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and wind power would constitute 9.4% of this figure, producing around 1.3TWh per year. Achieving this would entail an average annual growth of 35MW, not much more than the last five years' rate of 31MW.

While these figures may sound challenging for a country that currently only generates 2% of its electricity from wind power, Lithuania’s official plan is to install capacity of 500MW by 2016. According to EWEA’s analysis, little new wind power capacity will be added in 2011 but the three following years will bring a slow but steady increase of 50MW per year, dropping down again in 2015 then picking up again with an increase of 110MW in 2016.

"The action plan’s projections for wind capacity are half of EWEA’s scenario, an indication that wind power’s full potential may not have been taken into account," states the report.

However, when asked how much wind capacity Lithuania will install by 2020, Stasys Paulauskas, president of the Lithuanian Wind Energy Association, is extremely optimistic. "We will install 500MW onshore and 2GW offshore," he predicts. This is a far cry from the 154MW of wind capacity that the nation had at the end of 2010 and is also at odds with EWEA figures.

Industry confidence in offshore prospects

When asked for clarification, Paulauskas states that 500MW is the official target until 2020 as set out in the new draft law on renewable energy standards, which is currently being discussed in parliament but which does not take offshore wind energy potential into consideration. "We, as scientists and developers of new technologies, are working in offshore wind energy and we are sure that no less than 2GW of offshore wind energy will be installed in the Lithuanian marine economical zone by 2020," Paulauskas says, adding that this will be tied in with establishing a trans-European offshore electricity network.

The Lithuanian national action plan also indicates that the country is willing to use its projected surplus renewable energy production in co-operation mechanisms with other member states. Lithuania is already actively participating in projects that look into ways to extend cross-border wind energy co-operation in the Baltic Sea region.

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