Latvenergo launches EIA procedure for the development of wind farms

In February, Latvenergo AS launched the development of large scale wind power plants (WPPs), meeting with several municipalities. The first step is the initiation of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) procedure, evaluating the possibilities of WPP construction in five regions of Latvia.

The first successful meetings have taken place and issues and proposals for further action were brought up. Further development of the projects consists of several stages, which require the evaluation of key aspects: the potential impact on the environment, human health and safety, the public attitude towards WPPs in general, the adequacy of the infrastructure and the wind resources or potential.

A preliminary wind farm construction feasibility study has been carried out, and the first practical step is currently in process by launching EIA procedure and carrying out an in-depth study of the possibilities and conditions for the construction of wind power plants in five municipalities of Latvia – Aizkraukle, Balvi, Limbaži, Ventspils and Ludza. Remote meetings with local government representatives have taken place. The talks have been successful and the initiative by Latvenergo was met with appraisal. We have received questions and proposals from the stakeholders for the common support for the development of WPPs. The environmental impact assessment procedure is time-consuming and will take at least one year to complete. Its key tasks: evaluating the existing environmental conditions; studying the impact of the planned operations on the environment, including field research by experts (birds, habitats, bats, etc.); WPP layout modelling, including the prevention of noise and flickering, landscape neutrality; preparing measures to prevent or mitigate the impact; preparing monitoring requirements for prevention of residual effects.

The key area of activity in the development of wind farms is to design them in such a way that the impact on the environment, the landscape and the population is kept to a minimum. That is why dialogue with stakeholders, including local residents, municipalities and various wind farm developers, is important.

The next steps after the discussions are to continue the EIA procedure, involving experts, conducting research and wind measurements at specific potential sites, as well as analysing the possible development in the future and educating the public about wind energy.

Latvenergo supports the implementation of compensation mechanisms for local governments, so that local residents receive tangible direct benefits from the presence of wind power plants in the municipalities, contributing to the sustainability of our planet and environment. Wind farms are part of the transition towards climate neutrality, and we are doing it not only for the present, but also for future generations who will use green energy and protect the environment.

Globally, turbine manufacturers are investing significant resources to make technologies not only more efficient, but also safer for the environment and the public. Over the last decade, turbine manufacturers have succeeded in introducing technological solutions that:

  • prevent icing by means of special paint or even heated blades;
  • reduce noise thanks to a special blade design;
  • monitor the presence of birds and bats;
  • limit the flickering effect of turbines.

The first steps have been taken and an agreement has been concluded with the Latvian Ornithological Society, also discussing possible joint activities.

The new strategy of Latvenergo AS for the next period envisages doubling the capacity of renewable energy in accordance with Latvian and European climate goals. Furthermore, the cost of advanced wind farm technology has become much more accessible in recent years. This means that wind power is one of the most economically efficient solutions, especially with the currently present capacity deficit in Latvia and the Baltics and high electricity market prices. It is important to develop new RES capacities, as this will contribute to the independence of Latvia and the Baltics from imported energy resources and price fluctuations.

Latvenergo AS is a member of the Latvian Wind Energy Association with the aim of cooperation and promotion of development of responsible wind power plants in Latvia. A year ago, Latvenergo AS joined the largest European wind energy association – Wind Europe.

Ilvija Boreiko,
Wind and Solar Park Development Director of Latvenergo AS