Lithuania plans 700MW offshore site

Lithuania’s energy ministry has proposed a site in the Baltic Sea for up to 700MW of offshore wind capacity it claims could meet a quarter of the country’s electricity needs.

Lithuania's energy ministry launch a first tender in 2023 with the first projects being commissioned by 2030 (pic credit: David Holt)
Lithuania's energy ministry launch a first tender in 2023 with the first projects being commissioned by 2030 (pic credit: David Holt)

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It submitted the draft resolution to the government for a public consultation on a 137.5km2 site, 29km from the shore, with water depths of 35m and wind speeds reported to be 9m/s.

An energy ministry spokeswoman told Windpower Monthly it expects the government to make a decision on the capacity and precise location of the site in June.

The ministry would then be responsible for drafting all legislation setting out procedures for tendering the capacity and define responsibilities for grid development, the spokeswoman added.

Further research would also need to be carried out into wind speeds, grid connections, and environmental characteristics at the site, before the development rights will be tendered.

Offshore wind is currently not included in Lithuania’s technology-neutral renewable energy support scheme.

However, the energy ministry plans to file documents requesting European Commission approval for offshore wind support by 1 June.

It aims to launch the first tender in 2023 with projects being commissioned by 2030.

Aistis Radavicius, CEO of the Lithuanian Wind Power Association told Windpower Monthly it is important preliminary studies into the site are carried out “as soon as possible”.

He explained it was already unlikely the necessary studies would be carried out before the statutory deadline of 1 February 2021, as set out in Lithuania’s Renewable Energy Act.

Further delays would jeopardise the 2030 commissioning target without a postponement of this deadline, Radavicius added.

It is also unclear whether the national energy agency or project developers would be responsible for carrying out certain studies and whether the grid operator or developer would be responsible for the connection to the grid, he said.

“Given the economic stagnation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, when countries are looking for ways to stimulate their economies, building offshore grid infrastructure, in our point of view, could be fully or partially financed by the state or from the EU budget,” Radavicius added. 

“It would contribute to job creation, create added value to the economy, and demonstrate the state's determination to develop offshore wind energy in the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

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