A study produced on behalf of the Ministry of Energy in Lithuania by Klaipėda University has identified more than 3.0 GW of offshore wind energy capacity that could be built in its waters
In a recent study, Study for the Identification of Priority Parts of Lithuania’s Territorial Sea and/or the Lithuanian Exclusive Economic Zone in the Baltic Sea where the Development of Power Plants Using Renewable Energy Sources is Expedient, the university identified where in the Lithuanian part of the Baltic offshore windfarms might be built.
The country’s National Energy Independence Strategy provides for the development of wind power in the Baltic. The work undertaken by the university will help the government in the country formulate a development plan.
Minister of Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas said, “Offshore wind is one of the most promising and effective sources of renewable energy, and many countries are looking at its development.
“Our goal is to lay a solid foundation for developing offshore wind in the Baltic and to maximise its potential.”
The study found that the Lithuanian sector of the Baltic had an offshore wind potential of approximately 3.35 GW. This is the maximum possible capacity, but an implementation plan that the government is working on will decide how much actually might be built and where.
The study showed that the best location for offshore wind development is 30 km from the shore off Šventoji, where wind speeds reach 9-10 m/s and the water depth is 25-40 m.
The study analysed the nature of the seabed, water depths, and metocean conditions along with key data such as wave height, currents, temperature and salinity. It also addressed potential biodiversity issues and challenges. Existing and planned shipping routes in the area were also taken into account as were port development plans, engineering facilities, cultural heritage and marine archaeology.
Experts at the university provided the Ministry of Energy with proposals for a number of areas that could be developed with windfarms with capacities of 200, 300, 400 or 500 MW.
The Lithuanian Energy Agency (LEA) will now prepare a plan for the areas identified in the study and conduct a strategic environmental impact assessment. The research conducted and the modelling will help the LEA to conduct a feasibility study about how offshore windfarms in Lithuanian waters might be connected to the grid.
Preparatory work will then begin for permits and tendering procedures. These documents will have to be approved by the Lithuanian Government.
Once decisions are made on windfarm capacities and development sites, financing decisions will be taken. According to preliminary estimates, windfarms in the Baltic Sea could begin producing electricity by 2030.