Lithuanian utility aims for 1.2 GW of PV

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Lithuanian state-owned electricity and gas provider Lietuvos Energija has unveiled its Strategy of Lietuvos Energija LE 2030, a plan to increase renewable energy power production and pursue international development in neighbouring countries.

Under its new strategy, the utility will invest in renewables projects in Lithuania and abroad, improve and modernize its power generation assets, and contribute to the Baltic States’s synchronization with the Continental European Network (CEN) by 2025.

The plan also includes the development of high-tech energy storage capacity in existing power plants, as well as acquisition of new strategic power generation capacities in Lithuania and abroad.

Lietuvos Energija has made it clear it will invest in on-shore wind, large-scale solar and biofuels. By 2020, its renewable energy assets are expected to reach 400 MW, the company says. That target is expected to be achieved by acquiring operational power plants and developing new projects, mostly in the Baltic states and Poland.

By 2025, it is hoped LE’s green energy portfolio will increase to 1 GW, while applying standardized wind and solar power plant development and management in all regions. It is intended to add another 2 GW in 2026-2030 after LE develops a globally competitive business model, the utility notes. Solar will represent more than a third of total renewable energy installed generation capacity by 2030, said LE, accounting for around 1.19 GW, while wind and biofuels are set to reach 1.65 GW and 160 MW, respectively.

Around 80% of the green energy portfolio, the company added, will be outside Lithuania.

The transition of Lietuvos Energija, whose power generation assets are currently based mainly on traditional energy sources, is a natural consequence of the national energy independence strategy launched by the Lithuanian government at the end of last year. That strategy, which also provides targets and guidelines up to 2030, was conceived to reduce power imports, upon which the country still depends heavily, and to increase renewable electricity generation.

Lithuania’s regulatory framework provides support to residential and commercial PV through net metering. The scheme, improved by the government in 2017, is expected to drive around 200 MW of PV capacity in the country by 2020. At the end of 2016, cumulative installed PV power in Lithuania stood at approximately 76 MW. However most of that figure – around 68 MW – was installed between 2011 and 2013, when generous FITs were granted to PV system operators.