E-mobility and renewable energy must go hand in hand
Lithuania’s Law on Alternative Fuel is a premier example of specific and ambitious targets for the shift to e-mobility. It foresees that by 2030 there should be 60 thousand EV chargers throughout the country; 6,000 of which should be public and semi-public EV chargers, a sharp increase from the current number of around 360. The targets for new car sales are also ambitious. By 2030, 50% of new M1 cars, and 100% of new N1 car should be electric. These goals are exceptionally concrete, at least in comparison to the other Baltics States.
Lithuania’s TSO Litgrid has calculated that by 2030 Lithuania’s electricity consumption will increase by around 11% and reach 14,47 TWh. 5% of this increase will be linked to the development of e-mobility. For a country that has no fossil fuels, and is highly dependent on energy imports, the message is clear. We either install large new wind and solar capacities, or the increased electricity demand and the shift to e-mobility will be powered by imported fossil fuels.
From a strategic point of view all the right targets are in place. To name a few:
- By 2030 the share of renewables in gross final energy consumption in Lithuania should be 45%, in transportation – 15%.
- By 2025 there should at least 1,2 GW of installed capacity of onshore wind, 1 GW of solar power, by 2030 – at least 1,4 MW of offshore wind.
- By 2030 there should be 500 thousand electricity prosumers in Lithuania.
The current situation, with skyrocketing electricity and heating prices, puts an additional emphasis on reaching these critical targets. Renewable energy, previously seen as a fanciful and expensive green alternative, now becomes a cost-effective way to eliminate dependency on imported oil and gas. Wind and solar energy (and, potentially, production of green hydrogen) are the only ways for Lithuania to cut energy bills, produce enough power to cover its own increasing needs, and even become an energy exporter.
However, in practice, this goal is not so easily reachable. Onshore wind power park developers find it extremely difficult to launch new projects. They face discontent from local communities, and neighbouring landowners often resist the establishment of wind park sanitary zones. Environmental impact assessments take years to complete, and in many cases may not prove successful. Even after that process has been completed, further project implementation is often distorted by court disputes. Also, neither solar nor onshore wind parks can access state support, as the previously introduced technology-neutral auctions for renewable energy have been cancelled since the beginning of 2021. The offshore wind development programme is highly dependent on state regulation, which has been under consideration by the Parliament for over a year. This prolonged deliberation might end up postponing the 1st offshore tender planned for the end of 2023.
To conclude, Lithuania has enough strategic ambitions to become a country which runs on renewables and drives predominately e-cars. However, the latter makes sense only if the two goals are implemented simultaneously. If the practical issues with wind and solar energy development are not solved fast enough, we might end up with e-cars that run on imported fossil fuels; a scenario that completely contradicts this shift.