Europe 2020 targets - Latvia

LATVIA: Lagging behind its Baltic neighbours in wind development, Latvia has a long way to go to meet its 40% goal. That is its renewable energy obligation for energy by 2020, with 59.8% of its electricity to come from renewables. Its national plan states that 10.4% of its electricity should come from wind energy by 2020.

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The Latvian plan sets ambitious wind power targets — onshore wind is expected to meet 6% of the country’s electricity needs, while offshore will generate 4%. This will entail a steep rise from an annual growth rate of 6MW since 2005 to 38MW over the coming decade. "With over 230MW of cumulative onshore wind capacity and 180MW of offshore capacity foreseen by 2020, Latvia is above EWEA’s scenario of 200MW to 300MW," states the European Wind Energy Association.

In 2010, the country had a miserly 31MW of onshore wind capacity and has only managed to install a few turbines per year. The Baltic state has been hard hit by the economic crisis and draconian budgets have had a negative impact on projects such as wind parks, which are seen as a lower priority than getting the country’s finances back in order again.

EWEA’s analysis of the Latvian national plan concludes: "Onshore build-out is expected to remain steady until 2015 then drop dramatically. In 2017, annual capacity increase is expected to pick up again. Offshore, the first megawatts are expected in 2016 following a steady annual build-out up to 2020."

Paulis Barons, president of the Latvia Wind Energy Association, says a new law on renewable energy is currently being discussed in parliament but it is difficult to predict the outcome. Only time will tell if it can stimulate interest in the country’s wind industry.

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