This story was first published on 19 May 2020, when the Lithuanian energy ministry first proposed the site. It was updated on 22 June 2020, after the ministry confirmed selection of the site.
The site is a 137.5km2 area, 29km from the shore, with water depths of 35m and wind speeds reported to be 9m/s. It could support a wind farm capable of supplying 2.5-3TWh annually, the energy ministry added. The nearest coastal town to the site is Palanga, near the Latvian border.
The ministry will be responsible for drafting all legislation setting out procedures for tendering the capacity and define responsibilities for grid development, the spokeswoman added.
Meanwhile, the Lithuanian Energy Agency will carry out further research into wind speeds, grid connections, spatial planning and environmental characteristics at the site, before development rights can 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 July.
It aims to launch the first tender in February 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.”