Lithuania’s energy ministry has submitted a government decree for public consultation on the location of a 700MW wind array off its coast that could provide up to a quarter of the small Baltic nation’s electricity needs.

The zone foreseen covers an area of 137.5 square kilometres, and is located some 29km from shore, with average water depths of 35 metres, and wind speeds seen at about 9 metre per second, the ministry said in a release.

“Fierce competition will begin for investment in this area, and we need to be as well prepared as possible for this,” energy minister Žygimantas Vaičiūnas said.

A final decision on the location of the offshore wind farm is expected to be taken at the beginning of June, Rytis Kėvelaitis, vice minister for energy, told Recharge.

The government also plans to prepare legislation regulating a support scheme for offshore wind, which it wants to coordinate with the European Commission before 1 June.

First offshore wind auctions are planned to be announced in 2023, while the offshore wind project is slated to start operations by 2030, when Lithuania targets to have a renewable power share of 45%.

The ministry has proposed to commission transmission grid operator Litgrid with the preparatory work for the grid link to the future offshore wind farm.

The decree implements first recommendations of a public-private offshore wind task force, which started operations in February.

The task force had been asked to provide recommendations on possible stages of offshore wind development, models of grid connection, the allocation of responsibilities and connection costs, the selection of offshore arrays, the research required, possible support options and the regulation of offshore permits.