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Lithuania publishes environmental impact assessment report on offshore wind farms

As Lithuania seeks to develop offshore wind farms in the Baltic Sea and reduce the country’s dependence on electricity imports, the Ministry of Energy has made the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report on offshore wind farms available to the public. The deadline for submitting proposals in relation to the report is 19 April this year.

The tender to select the offshore wind farm developer is expected to be launched in autumn 2023 after measurements of wind speed and other parameters, geological and geophysical surveys of the seabed and other actions are accomplished.

Another tender for the selection of the offshore wind farm developer will be launched on 30 March, but the developer of the latter will have to carry out all the necessary studies, including the environmental impact assessment, himself.

Both offshore wind farms are planned to be constructed in Lithuanian territorial waters in the Baltic Sea, 30 kilometres or more off the shore. Their combined capacity is 1.4 gigawatts (GW), which would cover about half of Lithuania’s current consumption needs. The farms are scheduled to start operating in 2028.

Following an expert assessment of the state-of-the-art technology and cost-effectiveness of offshore wind farms and taking into account the technical solutions for wind farms in the Baltic and North Seas, offshore wind turbine models of 20 megawatts (MW) or more have been selected for analysis in the EIA report. Offshore wind turbines of this capacity can reach a height of up to 350 metres.

Based on the results of the EIA and the mitigation measures, three alternatives for the implementation of the offshore wind farm have been developed. First, the development of an offshore wind farm, where wind turbines are installed throughout the entire maritime area approved by a government resolution, using wind turbine models with a total height of up to 350 metres. Secondly, the development of an offshore wind farm, where wind turbines are installed within 1 kilometre of the boundary of the marine protected area, using wind turbine models up to 350 metres in height. Or, the development of an offshore wind farm, where wind turbines are installed within 2 kilometres of the boundary of the protected area, using wind turbine models up to 350 metres in height.

Poland, Latvia, Finland, Sweden and Denmark have expressed their willingness to participate in the transboundary environmental impact assessment and therefore transboundary consultations will also be carried out.

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