Photo: Ørsted; Illustration

Lithuania starts working on offshore wind development specifics

Lithuanian Ministry of Energy has commissioned UAB Ardynas to prepare a special plan and strategic environmental assessment to determine specific sites for offshore wind farm construction within an area that has already been designated for offshore wind development.

The plan will specify the areas in which the development and operation of offshore wind farms will be carried out in stages. A transformer substation concept will also be prepared and solutions will be specified, as will the requirements for site management, maintenance and other necessary requirements.

Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) will identify, describe and assess the possible significant consequences of the special plan for the development of wind farm in the Baltic Sea and the alternatives and solutions considered in it.

UAB Ardynas, which won this contract at an international open tender procedure, will prepare the plan and SEA for within the next 18 months.

Lithuania has another public procurement procedure underway for an environmental impact assessment (EIA) of wind farms in the Baltic Sea, identifying the potential direct and indirect impacts of offshore wind on the environment, including the landscape, biodiversity and natural habitats.

In June 2020, Lithuanian government adopted a resolution to organise a tender for the development and operation of offshore wind farms of up to 700 MW in the Lithuanian sector of the Baltic Sea. It is planned that the tender will be launched after all the necessary actions and research have been completed. According to earlier information, the tender will be launched in 2023.

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In December 2020, the government allocated EUR 7.5 million to prepare for its first offshore wind tender and the development of the first 700 MW of offshore wind capacity in the country, with the funds supporting environmental impact assessments and other studies and surveys to be carried out from 2021 until 2023.

Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas) is currently considering a package of draft laws proposing to regulate the support model for offshore wind energy and a model for connecting offshore wind farms to onshore electricity networks. The Seimas instructed the government to evaluate the provisions of the draft laws and present a conclusion. A draft conclusion will be submitted for public consultation in the near future, according to the country’s government.

As reported in September 2020, the new regulations would facilitate financing and developing offshore wind projects under a Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme. If the Seimas gives its final approval to the draft amendments, the regulatory environment will also have to be agreed and coordinated with the European Commission on the matter of compliance with state subsidy requirements.