In 2018, consumption of renewable energy resources dropped by 4.5 %
Data compiled by the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) show that in 2018 gross consumption of renewable energy sources (RES) in Latvia amounted to 76.8 petajoules (PJ). Compared to 2017, consumption of RES has declined by 4.5 %, whereas over the past five years – by 13.1 %. Reduction in the consumption of RES was influenced by the drop in the volume of energy produced in hydro power and wind power plants.
Fuelwood (firewood, wood waste, wood chips, wood briquettes, pelleted wood) and hydro resources in Latvia are used the most extensively. The share thereof in the gross energy consumption amounted to 35.2 % in 2018.
Fuelwood takes 80.9 % of the RES consumption
Fuelwood is the renewable resource used in Latvia the most commonly. Over the past five years, the share thereof in the consumption of RES has declined by 1.4 percentage points, while during the year it has risen by 7 percentage points reaching 80.9 %. Since 2013, consumption of biogas (landfill gas, sewage sludge gas, and other biogas) has risen by 16.2 %, while during the year it fell by 6.6 % reaching 3.6 PJ in 2018.
Consumption of fuelwood up by 11.1 % over the past five years; households are main consumers
During the last five years, gross consumption of fuelwood increased by 11.1 %, reaching 62.2 PJ in 2018, and over the year by 4.5 %. In 2018, compared to 2017, the volume of wood chips produced went up by 10.8 %, which was facilitated by the use thereof in the production of pelleted wood. Last year, 30.9 PJ of pelleted wood were produced, which is 9.9 % more than in 2017.
Households are the main consumers of fuelwood – in 2018, fuelwood consumption in households amounted to 36 % of the gross fuelwood consumption, and, compared to 2017, the indicator has risen by 6.1 % reaching 22.4 PJ.
Upturn in fuelwood consumption facilitated by the fuel change in CHP plants
During the past five years, the share of RES consumed in the production of electricity and heat in transformation sector1 has grown by 7.2 percentage points, reaching 35.1 % of the gross consumption in this sector in 2018. The rise may be explained by the transition from the natural gas to wood chips in generation of electricity and heat in combined heat and power (CHP) plants. Compared to 2017, consumption of fuelwood in the production of electricity and heat rose by 3.6 %, reaching 20.1 PJ last year. Wood chips take the largest share of fuel used in transformation sector; the share thereof in the consumption of fuelwood amounted to 94.7 % in 2018 reaching 19.1 PJ.
Over the year, volume of electricity produced from RES dropped by 35.9 %
In 2018, 6 725 GWh of electricity were produced in Latvia, of which 3 499 GWh were produced from RES, and, compared to 2017, the volume has dropped by 35.9 %. Last year, 4 170 GWh of electricity were generated in CHP plants, of which 22.6 % were produced from RES (biogas and biomass). During the last five years, the volume of electricity produced in biomass electrical power plants and CHP plants rose from 319 to 570 GWh, and the volume produced in biogas CHP plants – from 350 to 374 GWh.
Notable decline in primary electricity produced
In 2018, compared to 2017, the volume of primary electricity produced fell by 43.6 % – of which reduction of 44.5 % in hydro power plants and by 18.7 % in wind power plants. Last year, hydro power plants produced 2 432 GWh and wind power plants 122 GWh of primary electricity. In 2018, the small amount of electricity generated in hydro power plants, which may be explained by unusually dry and long summer leading to low water level and small water inflow in river Daugava, had the greatest downward effect on the amount of electricity produced.
Latvia has set a target to reach 40 % of the energy produced from RER in the gross final energy consumption until 2020. In 2017, Latvia had the third highest share of RER in the energy consumption in the European Union (the highest share was recorded in Sweden (53.9 %) and the second in Finland (41.0 %), while the EU average indicator constituted 17.5 %).
1 Transformation sector includes the volume of energy resources consumed for production and sale of electricity and heat, as well as production of peat briquettes and charcoal.