Experienced in renewable energy generation, Latvia provides an excellent environment for green energy projects. Latvian government has created a strategic plan for renewable energy sector with the highest goals among EU member states for 2020, contributing to the potential to expand this sector. The sector is equipped with skilled labour, long-standing experience and the necessary resources. Latvia’s efforts to improve energy efficiency and increasing enrolment in degree courses relevant to the sector further add to the industry’s potential.
Latvia has second highest share of renewable energy in its gross final energy consumption. In 2015, renewable energy accounted for 37.1% of the whole share of energy consumption in Latvia, approximately three times the EU-28 average. RES energy composed more than a half of total electricity consumption (51.1%).
Latvia has traditionally relied on hydroelectric power for electricity generation. After regaining independence in 1991, green energy continued to be on the agenda, also as a means to decrease dependence on Russian imports. Furthermore, the renewable energy sector is also a European Union priority, aiming to increase the sustainability of the energy sector and to create new jobs.
Since Latvia is one of the most forested EU member states, it has a great potential to increase the generation of energy from renewable resources, particularly in biomass. Particularly relevant to Latvia, biomass can also be derived from by-products of the woodworking sector. Today, most energy from renewable resources is generated from hydropower and biomass, and the share of renewable energy solutions in central district heating networks in Latvia lately has significantly increased.
Workforce in the sector is skilled and highly competitive. Currently, there are numerous vocational programmes and several higher education degrees dedicated to the particular sector. Over the past few years, the enrolment at educational institutions has been increasing too and in addition to the increasing investment in tangible assets the sector is becoming more productive, as well as competitive as never.
The Energy Charter Secretariat’s 2015 report, In-depth review of the investment climate and market structure in the energy sector of the Republic of Latvia, offers insights about the sector. The report is a testimony to both the reforms implemented by the Latvian government as well as private entrepreneurs boosting their productivity. LIAA took part in the preparation of the report.
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