In 2016 gross consumption of renewable energy resources in Latvia constituted 68.7 petajoules (PJ). Compared to 2015, the consumption of renewables has risen by 5.7%, whereas over the past ten years – by 14.1%.
As the gross consumption of renewable resources (mainly formed by domestic energy resources) increased, Latvian dependence upon imported energy resources reduced – from 66.7% in 2006 to 51.2% in 2015, according to data from the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia.
Significant increase was recorded in consumption of biogas (landfill gas, sewage sludge gas, other biogas) – 12.7-fold during the decade, reaching 3.8 PJ in 2016.
Over the decade, the gross consumption of fuel-wood has increased by 9.3%, reaching 54.3 PJ in 2016, whereas compared to 2015 it has gone up by 3.2%. In 2016, the share of fuel-wood in the gross energy consumption accounted for 29.4%, up by 0.8% YoY. At the same time, the exports of fuel-wood rose. In 2016, Latvia exported 37.9 PJ of fuel-wood, up by 12.6% YoY. Wood pellets constituted 29.3 PJ of the total volume of fuel-wood exported in 2016, up by 4.7% YoY, whereas the volume of wood chips exported rose by 79.4%.
The highest consumption of fuel-wood still was recorded in household sector, however it has declined by 41.6% during the decade, constituting 34.6% of the gross consumption of fuel-wood in 2016. Compared to 2006, in 2016 the volume of fuel-wood consumed in industry and construction has risen 2.7-fold (last year, fuel-wood consumption in the sectors constituted 25.4% of the gross fuel-wood consumption).
During the decade, the share of renewable resources consumed for the production of electricity and heat in transformation sector has grown by 18.6%, in 2016 reaching 33.1% of the gross consumption in this sector. Compared to 2015, the consumption of fuel-wood in transformation sector has gone up by 22%. From 2006 to 2016, fuel-wood consumption in transformation sector has risen 2.5-fold, reaching 18 PJ last year. The largest share (88.2%) of the consumed fuel-wood is taken by wood chips that reached 15.9 PJ in 2016. It may be explained by the growing number of combined heat and power (CHP) plants and share of renewable sources in the transformation sector and reduction of the share of natural gas.
In 2016, 3,482 GWh of electricity were produced from the renewable resources, and, compared to 2015, the volume rose by 25.4%. In 2016, due to the higher inflow of rivers the volume of electricity produced in hydro power plants constituted 2,530 HGh – 36% more than in 2015. Over the decade, the volume of electricity produced in wind power plants has increased from 46 to 128 GWh or by 178.3%, the volume produced in biomass electrical power plants and CHP plants has risen from 7 to 427 GWh, and the volume produced in biogas CHP plants – from 36 to 397 GWh.
Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources stipulated that the share of renewable sources in gross energy consumption in 2020 should comprise 40%.
Latvia has the third highest share of renewables in the energy consumption in the European Union (the highest share was recorded in Sweden (53.9%) and the second largest in Finland (39.3%); in 2015, Latvian indicator constituted 37.6% (EU average – 16.7%). (BNN/Business World Magazine)