Baltic States - Huge wind gains expected over the coming years

LATVIA: Despite the head of the Latvian Wind Energy Association, Paulis Barons, claiming he is an optimist about the future, he predicts policy stagnation in 2013.

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"The government is putting up barriers to wind energy. It doesn't like installing wind power as it is competition for fossil fuels," Barons says.

However, two projects have been started and some are midway through construction, which means that up to 70MW could come online in 2013.

This would be a significant improvement on the past two years. There are currently 30MW installed onshore, which means that no additional wind capacity was added in 2012 for the second year in a row. The offshore market has yet to get started.

According to Barons, the government has made no progress in a promised renewables strategy for 2030 and has also fallen short of its targets under the European Renewables Directive.

If the Latvian authorities deliver on these commitments, 416MW of wind energy could be installed covering 10% of the country's electricity demand, according to the European Wind Energy Association. A significant part is scheduled to come from offshore wind.


The Estonian market is very active, with 27.9MW of wind projects under construction. The Estonian Wind Power Association expects cumulative installed capacity to reach 297MW by the end of this year.

However, in January the government decided to keep an annual cap on the volume of wind energy eligible for subsidies, while simultaneously reducing the size of the subsidy, despite having made a pledge to the Estonian Renewable Energy Association last July that the cap would be removed in exchange for cutting support. The subsidy cut applies to existing plants, which could force investors to seek legal action.

Last year, Estonia had a record-breaking year, with 85.5MW wind energy connected to the grid, taking it to a total of 269MW.


Installed wind power capacity in Lithuania may double to 500MW by 2015, the Baltic nation's wind energy association predicted in November. The expansion will help reduce the country's reliance on Russian electricity imports necessary since the closure of its only nuclear reactor in 2009.

In a non-binding referendum last October, more than 60% of voters rejected a joint project with Latvia and Estonia to build a new 1.35GW nuclear facility by 2022. Lithuania's new government, elected last year, is revising its energy independency strategy and expects to decide on a model soon.

In January, the energy ministry authorised state-controlled electric utility Lietuvos Energija AB to buy up power from local wind energy producers. Electricity from wind turbines started trading on the Nord Pool Spot Exchange, which is owned by Nordic and Baltic transmission system operators. Lietuvos Energija's role is temporary, pending a public tender to choose a permanent wind power intermediary.

Lithuania added 46MW in 2012, which brings the total installed capacity to 225MW, with no offshore capacity.

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