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Energy Vision for Latvia

Latvian Sustainable Energy Vision

The Latvian Vision2050 is similar to the vision for EU; but developed to fit the visions of the Latvian INFORSE member Latvian Green Movement.

The proposed development follows in general the same path as in the European vision, but given the large biomass potential, the expected continued growth after the criris, and the need to replace nuclear import without increasing gas demand, the vision has a strong focus on actions that can be implemented cost-effectively until 2020, and include more growth than the vision for EU. It includes a transition of the energy supply and demand with phase-out of fossil and nuclear energy over a 30 - 40-year period, 2010 - 2040/2050.

If this vision is turned into reality it will have a number of positive effects for Latvia that is fully dependant on imports for its fossil fuel supply. With a transition to domestic energy sources, Latvia will no longer be hurt directly by the energy prices increases of fossil fuels that many expect will come as a result of the dwindling resources of fossil fuels. With realisation of the vision, Latvia would also be in the front in the reduction of climate change, a position that can be very valuable in the future. Further, the emphasis on local resources will also benefit the Latvian economy with increased employment and a more positive trade balance. If Latvia is going to continue its development and growth, it has do be efficient, not the least energy efficient.
The vision includes a phase-out of electricity imports from 2009, increased use of renewable energy, strong emphasis on energy efficiency, and reduction of natural gas after 2010.

Factor 4 for Energy Efficiency
In line with INFORSE’s global vision for sustainable energy, the Latvian Vision is based on increase of energy efficiency to reach an average level in 2050 similar to best available technologies today. A number of studies have shown that with best available technology, on the market or close to market introduction, it is possible to increase energy efficiency with a factor four or more for most energy uses. Most energy consuming equipments will be changed several times until 2050, and if new generations of equipment are made with optimal energy performance, and markets are made to promote the most efficient technology, it will not be a problem to reach today's best available technology, even though the efficiency gains achieved are very large, - in the order of 4 times, similar to an annual increase of efficiency of over 2% per year from 2010. This will not happen by itself, given that the "natural" technological development in EU countries has been about 1% per year. It will require concerted actions from stakeholders involved, but if it is done on EU-scale, and the market therefore is large for each new generation of efficient equipment, the changes will be cost-effective. The extra equipment costs will be off-set by energy savings. To realise this, it is, however, necessary to go beyond the conservatism of many market players in this field, and develop a truly enabling market for energy efficiency throughout the society. The factor four increase of efficiency is possible in Latvian electricity demand, except for construction and agricultural sectors that has very little electric intensity today, for road transport and for industrial heat and fuel demands.

The Challenge of Reducing Heat Consumption
For buildings the situation is different from equipment and vehicles because buildings often have lifetimes of 100 years or more. Many of the houses to be heated in 2050 are probably already built. Statistics indicates that efficiency of heating did not improve 2000 – 2005. On the other hand, the need for large replacement or major renovation of block houses build during the Soviet Union gives an opportunity for large increases in efficiency, if appropriate standards and support is in place. For Latvia, the proposed energy conservation targets for domestic sector should be realised as planned in 2016 and 2020 to reach final heat demand of respectively 195 kWh/m2 and 150 kWh/m2, and similar targets should be set for the service sector. In parallel, efforts to stop and reverse electric heating must be introduced rapidly. After 2020, efforts should be continued following EU regulation, leading to specific, final heat consumption of 82 kWh/m2 in 2050, or only 36% of the level in 2000. This is expected to be a combination of improved heating installations in houses and improved buildings.

It is also a challenge to reverse the current trend of increasing electric heating in Latvia for hot water and for rooms, a trend that goes again this visions proposal of strong energy efficiency. Electricity is the form of energy with the highest value and the highest environmental costs in production. It is therefore a pure waste to use electricity for heating. The vision does not include heat pumps in Latvia as they do not have an added value in the Latvian energy system; but heat pumps have been included in INFORSE vision for other countries with more intermittent electricity supply (mainly windpower). In Latvia the current trend in some places to replace wood-based heating with heat pumps goes again this vision. Instead we propose efficient and clean use of wood and in areas with more dense housing: extension of district heating.

Efficient Transport
For transport is assumed that the conversion-efficiency from fuel to transport-work is increased 4 times for personal cars and 3.5 times for truck (from current 15- 20% in combustion engine systems to above 60% with electric vehicles in combination with a smaller fraction pof biofuels. This incldues that the vehicles will be equipped with recoverage of break-energy, so the "end-use" of energy in transport is limited to the unavoidable friction losses in transport (except for aviation). This increase is expected to happen until 2050. Most of the changes are only expected after 2020, and the efficiency increase 2000 – 2020 is only expected to be about 20%.

Growth Factors
The growth of energy services, i.e. heated floor space, transported goods and people, energy consuming production, is expected to continue for 2-3 decades and then level off for most sectors towards 2050. This corresponds with historical rapid growth 2000 - 2007 and slower development since then The development is in general not “business as usual”; but will require policies to redirect economic development to less resource-demanding sectors and solutions, such as train transport instead of road transport for personal transport and stop of electric heating. Assumed growth in activities for Latvia are:
· Floor space, households: increase of 15% 2000 - 2010, then 2% annual increase from 2010, but from 2030 only 0.5%/year, leading to over 40 m2/person in 2050;
· Floor space service sectors: 25% increase 2000 - 2010, then 2% annual increase until 2030, and then to 0.5% per year in the following decades.
· Electric appliances in households and service: 80% increase 2000-2010 following current trends, then 1%/year higher growth than growth in heated floorspace. This will lead to an electric energy service level in 2050 of three times the 2000 level.
· Electric appliances in service sector: 62% increase 2000-2010 following current trends, then 3%/year growth until 2020, then 2%/year This will lead to an energy service level for electricity-using equipment in 2050 of four times the 2000 level.
· Industry: growth of 25% for processes demanding electricity and 29% for processes demanding heat and fuels 2000 – 2010, following statistics. After 2010 no growth in physical production volume, i.e. no growth in drivers for energy demand; assuming that increased value in Latvian industry will come from improved quality instead of increased quantity, following trends in Western Europe. The change of steel production in Liepaja from gas to electric arc heating technology is included with a change of 4.4 PJ of gas use to 3.6 PJ of electricity use in the steel sector before 2010 (assuming and efficiency increase of 20% with the change).
· Personal transport: the vision includes a 79% increase in private car use 2000-2020, following high growth 2000 - 2008 and then expected slower growth of 1.5%/year. Then we expect a stabilisation on the 2020-level on 520 cars/1000 inhabitants equal to Western European (EU-15) level (year 2010 level in Latvia is about 470 cars/1000 inhabitants). Bus use is expected to remain stable until 2020 following current trends and then 10%/decade until 2040 and then stabilise in 2040 on a level of 1.5 times the 2000-level. Train use is expected to grow 33% 2000 - 2015 following current trends and then increase 1%year reaching a level in 2050 88% higher than in 2000. This follows a rapid decline of train use in the 90's when train use fell to 1/3 of the level in the early 1990's. As part of the increased train use, there are large opportunities to improve use of existing train lines in Riga and many other places.
· Freight transport: the vision includes a turnaround of the reduction in rail freight in the last few years, so the level in 2030 is equal to the level in 2005 that was 49% above the 2000-level. After 2030 is expected a slow increase in freight trains to 152% of the 200 level in 2040 and later. Road freight fell since 2007, following a large, unsustainable increase. The reduction is expected to continue until 2020, where the level then would be 1% above the 2000-level. From 2020 the level is expected to be stable. Navigation and pipeline transport is expected to remain unchanged.

An underlining assumption for this development is a generally stable population in Latvia, with fluctuations below approx. 10%.

Renewable Energy
As a fraction of primary energy, renewable energy use is expected to grow from the 2000-level of 32% to 34% in 2010, to 73% in 2020, 90% in 2030, 100% in 2040 and in 2050. For electricity the renewable share is above the share of primary energy, starting with 48% in 2000, falling to 44% in 2010 and then increasing to 100% in 2020, primarily because of biomass CHP. The power supply of Latvia will continue to be interconnected with export of electricity from renewables and import than might come from fossil fuel based power production in other countries. In the scenario Latvia will no longer be a net importer of electricity from 2015, assuming a rapid expansion of biomass CHP.
The most important developments are in windpower and biomass including important use of agricultural land for biomass plantations, use of crops for biofuels and use of straw for heating and for combined heat and power (CHP) production. An important part of the straw is straw from liquid biofuel production from rape-seed. The use of agricultural land for energy plantations for solid biomass is expected to be 2200 km2 until 2020, similar to 64% of the current area of non-used agricultural land. Also increase use of solar is including in the vision, while there is no increase in use of hydro-power, and geothermal is not included as the temperatures are low and the potential is uncertain.

Renewable energy supply Latvia

Graph: Increase in renewable energy supply, following this Vision. The reductions after 2020 is because of reducing primary energy demands after 2020 with increase of energy efficiency and with use of ambient heat via heat pumps. Ambient heat is not included in graph.

Graph: Change in primary energy supply, following this vision. The decrease after 2020 is because assumptions of a less material growth than today and strong emphasis on energy efficiency.

Fossil Energy
Fossil fuel grows until 2010 to cover electricity production and increasing heat and transport demands and then gradually be phased out until 2040.
Graph: Fossil fuel supply Latvia according to Sustainable Energy Vision

Energy Conversion
The energy conversion system will also have to be changed. The electric grid is likely to increase in importance, because electricity will also be used for transport, directly or via conversion to hydrogen. The increase in electricity demand and the change to biomass power will require construction of biomass CHP plants to produce 4 TWh (14 PJ) of electricity and 15 PJ heat. This will require construction of 800 – 1000 MW of biomass CHP plants until 2020.
The increasing dependence on intermittent electricity supply from windpower and later solar PV can be managed with regulation on thermal and hydropower plants; but it might be necessary to construct heat storages in the form of hot water tanks to the CHP plants to decouple heat production and heat demand. With such storages CHP plants can better follow electricity demand. The intermittent electricity production from windpower and solar PV is expected toi increase to 25% in 2020, 33% in 2030 and 45% in 2040 according to the vision. With 38% flexible electricity use (heat pumps in district heating and battery vehicles) and international electricity exchange, the fluctuating electricity supply will not be a substantial problem
District heating will increase in importance with the vision, covering more than 40% of household and 48% of service sector heat demand from 2030, an increase from today's 32% for household and 34% for service sector.

Gas networks are expected to have decreasing importance. They might play a role for transportation of hydrogen or biogas, but probably not for long-distance transport.

Graph: Development of electricity production and sources, following Vision2050. The import/export line shows import when it is above the top of the sources and export when it is below

Energy Trade
Energy trade is expected to be much less than today, only a moderate electricity exchange is expected. Net electricity import is expected to be phased out until 2015. If the vision including efficiency assumptions are realised, there will be surplus electricity in 2020 and later for export. The biomass export can continue, and could expand after 2020, if the current trend of constant low demand for agricultural land continue.

Graph: Phase out of CO2 Emissions from Energy

The above graph shows the CO2 emissions from energy resulting from realisation of this vision. There will still be greenhouse gas emissions from other activities such as agriculture, including CO2 emissions.

Note with the Assumptions for Vision for Latvia (pdf file, 1 MB)

Calculations of the economy of power supply options for Latvia / the Baltic Countries: Calculation (pdf file, 110 kB, 2011)

A Strategy for Immediate Actions Until 2020: Strategy (pdf file 156 kB, version 2007).

Latvian Version of Vision

The work on this paper and the sustainable energy vision for Latvia is partly paid by funding received from the Nordic Council of Ministers and the European Commission; but it expresses the findings and the views of the authors and of INFORSE-Europe and not necessarily of the European Commission. The European Commission is not liable for use of the information.

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