The largest wind energy conference in the Baltic region has ended

The WindWorks conference organised by the Latvian Wind Energy Association, the Estonian Wind Energy Association and the Embassy of the Kingdom of Denmark in Latvia has come to an end. Moving Energy.

Participants assessed the experience of other countries in harnessing offshore wind and outlined improvements and cooperation models needed in the Baltic states.

The conference speakers included more than 40 experienced energy experts, representatives of organisations and policy makers from Latvia, Estonia, Norway, UK, Denmark and other European countries. Discussions were held on issues relevant to the development of offshore wind energy – the regulatory framework, the expansion of interconnections, new electricity storage solutions and business opportunities for local entrepreneurs in the planned development of wind farms in the coming years.

Egils Levits, the president of Latvia, attended the opening ceremony, emphasising that it is not enough to change our thinking. Good intentions must be complemented by good practical plans and hard work: "I am delighted that last year, the industry players of Latvia signed a memorandum of understanding on the development of hydrogen technologies. Global industry is growing so fast that we will definitely benefit if we are prepared and participate actively. We need to look at the global development of wind energy as a broader economic opportunity from which we can benefit. Finally, we need to continue to raise public awareness of renewable energy and wind power, as the phenomenon of ‘not in my back yard’ is still characteristic of our society. The public needs to see and feel the clear benefits of renewable energy development."

"Increasing wind power generation capacity in the Baltics would help address the historical shortage of electricity capacity, as well as provide an opportunity to increase electricity exports," said Raimonds Čudars, the minister of climate and energy, at the conference. During the opening of the conference, the minister said that the transformation of energy systems from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources is primarily linked to the urgent need to meet climate change targets. In addition, the geopolitical situation with the war started by Russia in Ukraine and disruptions in supply chains have further accelerated the shift towards renewable energy.

Toms Nāburgs, the CEO of the Latvian Wind Energy Association, pointed out that the development of offshore wind farms also provides opportunities for other sectors, such as ports, infrastructure, hydrogen and grid balancing solutions, maintenance and so on.

Kaspars Cikmačs, the chief development officer of Latvenergo AS, participated in a panel discussion on the prospects for hydrogen development, No Power -to- X, no Party., in the conference. Participants discussed different approaches to the problem of energy storage through innovation. “At those times when more green energy can be produced than can be used immediately, it is important to store this energy, for example using hydrogen technology,” said K. Cikmačs. The information published last week on the paid AST/ST's connection capacity bookings suggests that solar energy stations with an installed capacity of more than 3000 MW could be built in Latvia in the coming years. Add to this data from Lithuania, Estonia, Poland and it becomes clear that very soon we will face situations where solar panels on sunny days will be able to produce more electricity than the grid can take in; a similar situation already occurred last week in the Czech Republic, where solar parks with 400 MW of capacity were disconnected from the grid because there was nowhere to put the electricity they produced.

“This is an excellent opportunity for various storage technologies as well as for green hydrogen production,” said K. Cikmačs. In addition, hydrogen technology can also address future energy transmission or transport challenges, which could be relevant for example in offshore wind farms. We see a number of active projects around the world and in nearby Scandinavian countries where green hydrogen technologies are already starting to be used commercially. Are Grathen, the regional director of Samskip, who recently ordered two hydrogen-powered vessels, also spoke in this panel discussion.

A recording of the conference is available here: