Development of renewable energy sources – a top priority for Lithuania's pursuit of energy independence

  • 2023-07-13
  • Martynas Giga

Lithuania has always prioritized investments in energy independence, and the European Union's (EU) Green Deal has provided an additional push to focus on the development of renewable energy sources. One of the most effective ways to contribute to combating the climate crisis is by consistently reducing the need for imported energy, which is achievable through the development and consumption of green electricity. In Lithuania, both businesses and residential consumers have been actively involved in consuming green electricity, and even with falling electricity prices, the demand has not decreased.

While the latest statistics on electricity consumption and sources for 2022 will be available by mid-summer, it is evident that Lithuania still imports more electricity than it produces, leaving ample room for the expansion of green energy production:  as we continue to import more electricity than we generate, there is a significant potential for expanding local green energy production. Local production of green electricity is necessary to meet the high standards of safety, sustainability, and reliability.  The regions benefit from green energy investments, improved air quality, and decreased dependence on fossil fuels, which lower energy transportation and production costs. 

According to the State Energy Regulatory Council (SERC) data, wind power plants will continue to be the dominant source of electricity generation in Lithuania in 2021. Based on their installed capacity, they accounted for 65.4% of the market, while hydroelectric power plants accounted for 13.3% and solar power plants for 8.9%. Biomass power plants accounted for 8.3% of the market and biogas for 4.2%.

Currently, only Elektrum Lietuva operates 3 of their own solar parks and 3 additional solar parks will be operational this summer, with a total capacity of 13.7 MW. By 2025, Elektrum Lietuva plans to increase its total power generation capacity to 207 MW, which includes not only solar but also wind energy, after completing all ongoing green energy projects.

Solar energy and related technologies are known for their affordability, making them accessible to both businesses and individuals who want to use clean electricity.  In principle, anyone with the necessary Conditions can set up a power plant to meet their needs and use green electricity. For those who prefer not to set up their own power plant, they can buy a stake in a remote solar park in Lithuania to increase green energy use. It is such high demand that solar farms are being purchased before they even begin operation.

The climate crisis has taught us that we are best equipped to take care of ourselves, and with the growing demand for green electricity exceeding the supply, there is ample opportunity for expansion in the renewable energy sector. The climate crisis only reinforces this perception.

It is not only important to transition to green electricity, but it is also necessary to incorporate it with other environmentally-friendly solutions. This includes utilizing batteries to store solar energy, replacing fossil or solid fuel heating systems with heat pumps that extract heat from the air or ground, and the rapid growth in the number of electric cars on the roads of the country. These measures are already climate-friendly in themselves, and combining them with green electricity from solar or wind would reduce the burden on the planet even further.

Although Lithuania has already implemented some climate-friendly solutions, there is still a significant need for investment in sustainable energy production to reduce imports and address the high demand for energy products.  The market is not yet saturated, and with strong demand, there is definitely room for growth in green energy capacity in the future. Elektrum Lietuva, as a part of Latvenergo, which is the biggest producer of green energy in the Baltics, has set ambitious growth plans, including green generation from solar and wind, as well as storage, supply, and ancillary services. 

The energy industry is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change, and despite this, energy consumption continues to increase annually. However, there is optimism in the knowledge that the energy sector is evolving quickly and significantly, providing hope for climate change mitigation.