Latvia sees biofuel production soar over past decade

Latvia has boosted its biofuel production over the past decade, according to official statistics from the country’s Central Statistical Bureau (CSM).

According to the CSM, Latvia has seen its production soar nearly 20 times in the past decade while 2015 consumption compared to 2014 was 203% higher.

Biofuels remains a small portion of the country’s overall renewable energy consumption, with fuelwood making up a significant majority, followed by hydro and wind power.

A CSB spokeswoman told Biofuels International: "The regulations issued in 2009 by the Cabinet of Ministers of Republic of Latvia foresaw that 5% of the produced petrol and diesel fuel must contain biofuels. Therefore, there has been a rise in biofuel production since then. However, the amount of biofuels produced in Latvia is rather small, the percentage change is high, but not that significant in absolute numbers."

Compared to 2014, the volume of wood pellets produced grew by 14.1 %, and the volume of wood chips produced went up by 8.4%. In 2015, Latvia exported 28PJ of wood pellets – 20.4 % more than in 2014, according to CSM statistics.

The highest consumption of fuelwood still was recorded in household sector, however the indicator has declined by 28.7 % during the decade, constituting 36.4 % of the gross consumption of fuelwood in 2015. Compared to 2005, fuelwood consumed in industry and construction has risen 2.9 times, and in 2015 fuelwood consumption in the sectors accounted for 28.5 % of the gross consumption of fuelwood.

CHP plants

Since 2010, installed electrical capacity of CHP plants using renewable resources rose 7.9, and in 2015 it comprised 126MW – 5MW more than in 2014. The volume of electricity produced in CHP plants using renewable resources has grown 11.6 times since 2010, reaching 765GWh – 96GWh more than in 2014.

In 2015, 2 772GWh of electricity were produced from the renewable resources, and, compared to 2014, the indicator almost has not changed (-1.1 %). During the decade, the volume of electricity produced in wind power plants has increased from 47 to 147GWh, the volume produced in biomass (firewood, wood waste) electrical power plants and CHP plants has risen from 6 to 378GWh, and the volume produced in biogas CHP plants – from 36 to 387GWh.

Compared to 2014, in 2015 electrical capacity of biogas CHP plants grew by 4.8% and of biomass power plants and CHP power plants – by 3.4% (5.5 times, compared to 2010). In a statement, the CSB said that one of the reasons behind the increase in consumption of renewable sources in electricity production is the state support allowing to sell electricity within the framework of mandatory procurement.

This story was written by Liz Gyekye, editor of Biofuels International and Bioenergy Insight.