Lithuania issues offshore wind proposal

In: Windfarms
The Lithuanian Ministry of Energy has submitted a draft Government Resolution to stakeholders, highlighting locations in the Baltic Sea where it proposes to develop offshore wind farms. Proposals were also submitted regarding the capacity of the arrays, which could meet one-quarter of Lithuania’s demand.

The draft was prepared on the basis of recommendations from a working group up of representatives of state institutions and business associations. Formed by order of the minister, the working group examined the following key issues: possible stages of wind turbine development in the Baltic Sea, models for connecting the turbines to power grids, distribution of responsibilities and connection costs, selection of locations for the turbines in marine territory, and research that must be done. Also considered were possible methods of support, regulation of permits to use territorial waters, and development of the offshore wind equipment supply chain.

Taking into account the objectives of the National Energy Independence Strategy and the National Energy and Climate Plan as well as the recommendations of the working group, the draft Government Resolution envisages that the installed capacity of the wind farm would reach 700 MW. A wind farm of this capacity in the Baltic Sea would produce approximately 2.5-3 TWh of electricity per year, which is 25 per cent the country’s current electricity demand.

The resolution also identifies the exact part of the Baltic Sea where the development of wind turbines would be most efficient. The territory planned in the Baltic Sea covers an area of 137.5 km2, with a distance from shore of approximately 29 km, an average water depth of 35 m, and an average wind speed of approximately 9 m/s.

“Conditions for the development of onshore wind energy have already been created, and this is now another step forward – creating a favourable environment for wind energy in the Baltic Sea. Offshore wind will be a new and significant turning point in Lithuanian energy, as electricity generation from offshore wind is more efficient and has greater potential than onshore. Fierce competition will begin for investment in this area, and we need to be as well prepared as possible for this,”
said Minister of Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas.

At present, legislation does not provide a support scheme for the construction of offshore power plants. It is proposed to entrust the Ministry of Energy with preparing the necessary bills regulating the support scheme for power plants to be developed in Lithuania’s territorial waters and coordinating the proposed support scheme with the European Commission by 1 June.

Considering that it may take up to eight years to install the networks connecting the offshore power plants, the development of these networks should be initiated as soon as possible. It is therefore proposed to charge the transmission system operator Litgrid with beginning preparatory work.

The first auctions for offshore wind are planned to be announced in 2023. The power plants should start generating electricity by 2030.

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