Latvia recorded 54 MW of installed solar capacity at the end of last year, according to International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) statistics. This is “miserable” compared to the country’s Baltic siblings, one energy expert tells pv magazine. But if Latvia lands the right utility-scale opportunities, solar could be one of its renewable energy stars.
A Latvian developer is building a large-scale PV facility near the Russian border. The plant will provide some of the electricity that the Baltic country will no longer receive from Russia, following the planned desynchronization of the two energy systems in 2025.
Panels will be installed at waste sites in five mining towns as part of the latest, €2.4 billion ($2.57 million) round of investment from a fund set up to help coal-dependent European member states with the energy transition.
The latest numbers released by EU data body Eurostat indicate renewables, including hydropower, contributed 37% of Europe’s gross electricity consumption in 2020, up from 34% a year earlier.
The Baltic state has offered energy-intensive, international-facing industries up to an 85% discount on a surcharge levied on electricity consumers since May 2017 and made the scheme wider ranging this year, in a move approved by the European Commission.
The latest, seven-year investment attracted offers worth more than €100 billion from investors and means the European Union has already generated €54 billion of the €80 billion of bond proceeds it is aiming for this year, as part of its five-year, €800 billion NextGenerationEU support package.
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have seen uneven development in PV installations to date, and the three Baltic states are still highly dependent on imports from Russia. Estonia needs to replace aging energy infrastructure, and so far it has led the region in PV deployments. Latvia, meanwhile, has a high level of hydro in its energy mix, and less incentive to build PV. IHS Markit analyst Susanne von Aichberger examines the latest policy developments in the Baltic states.
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