New analysis commissioned by Lithuania’s energy ministry has found a potential of up to 3.35GW in offshore wind capacity off the Baltic country’s 260-kilometer-long coastline.

Klaipėda University’s Marine Research Institute had carried out the study to identify marine territories in Lithuania’s territorial sea or exclusive economic zone, where development and operation of wind farms would be possible in order to achieve the country’s strategic renewable energy targets.

“Offshore wind is one of the most promising and effective sources of renewable energy, and many countries are looking at its development,” energy minister Žygimantas Vaičiūnas said.

“Our goal is to lay a solid foundation for the development of offshore wind in the Baltic Sea and to maximize the potential of offshore wind.”

Lithuania targets to reach 3GW of “green generation capacity” by 2030, and wants 45% of electricity consumption to be met by renewable sources by then.

Next to a desire to become more climate-friendly, the former Soviet state also aspires to end its dependence on Russian energy imports, Vaičiūnas has repeatedly stated.

Lithuania’s state-owned utility Lietuvos Energija earlier this year had received expressions of interest from seven European offshore wind majors to become a “strategic partner” in developing projects in the country’s swathe of the Baltic Sea. The utility hopes to hold first offshore wind power auctions in 2021-2022.

How much of the 3.35GW in offshore wind capacity can actually be developed depends on infrastructure and financial development conditions, the energy ministry said.

The Klaipėda University study has shown that the best location for offshore wind development is 30 km from the shore of Šventoji, where wind speeds reach 9–10 m/s and the sea depth is 25–40 m.

As a next step, the Lithuanian Energy Agency (LEA) will initiate preparations for a special plan for the marine territory and a strategic environmental impact assessment. After that, the agency plans to conduct a feasibility study for grid connections, as well as an economic cost–benefit analysis of the development of offshore wind.

According to preliminary estimates, wind farms in the Lithuanian part of the Baltic Sea could begin producing electricity by 2030, the ministry said.