Big rise in Latvia's wind and hydro power levels

In 2017 gross energy consumption in Latvia comprised 194.9 petajoules (PJ), which is 5.5 % more than in 2016, according to data from the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB).

Over the past five years (from 2013 to 2017), gross energy consumption has not changed significantly, however the share of renewables has increased by 2.55 percentage points.

But the most eye-catching statistic in the data was a 70.5 % or 6.7 PJ increase in the amount of primary electricity produced in hydro power plants (up by 73.2%) and wind power plants (up by 17.1 %).

Together in these power plants generated 4531 GWh of electricity, of which 4381 GWh were produced in hydro power and 150 GWh in wind power.

"Last year, the large amount of electricity generated in hydro power plants, which may be explained by the unusually high precipitation amounts and high water inflow in river Daugava, had the greatest upward effect on the amount of electricity produced," the CSB said.

Over recent years, the structure of gross energy consumption has changed – as the share of natural gas is declining and the proportion of renewables is growing. Over ten years, the share of natural gas consumption dropped by 5 percentage points, constituting 23.4 % in 2017, the share of renewables reached 32.9 %, and the share of fuelwood rose by 7.1 percentage points, comprising 30.5 %. Compared to 2016, in 2017 the amount of wood chips produced rose by 8.7 %, of firewood by 5.5 %, and of pelleted wood by 35 %. Last year, 0.6 PJ of pelleted wood were produced, which is 79.4 % more than in 2016. As the gross consumption of renewables is growing, Latvian energy dependence fell from 63.9 % in 2005 to 47.2 % in 2016.

As the gross consumption of renewables is increasing, Latvia is getting closer to the strategic objective regarding use of renewable energy resources aiming at reaching 40 % of the energy produced from renewables in the gross final energy consumption by the end of 2020. Latvia has the third highest share of renewables in the final energy consumption in the European Union (EU); in 2016, the indicator constituted 37.2 % (EU average 17 %). 

However, Latvia fares less well on the share of renewables in transport. In 2016, Latvia's share of renewables in transport constituted 2.8 % against an EU average of 7.1 %.

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