Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Wind Country Notes
Latvia has favourable conditions for exploiting wind energy: the average yearly velocity of winds blowing over the western coasts of the Baltic Sea is 5.7 m/s.
The Institute of Physical Energetics of the Latvian Academy of Sciences compiled a wind atlas for the country in 1990. It was found that the windiest areas are on the coast of the Baltic Sea (Ventspils to Liepāja) and on the eastern side of the Gulf of Riga (Ainaži). The width of the territory along the former is 50-70 km and of the latter (as far as Ainaži), about 10 km; the total area involved is approximately 10 600 km2.
Inland, the wind regime is also suitable in the vicinity of Riga, Bauska, Rēzekne, Saldus, Cēsis and Dagda, as well as the windy, hilly areas in Kurzeme, Vidzeme and Latgale (but not on the leeward side of the hills in Jūrmala, Kurzeme, Vidzeme and Latgale).
The tradition of using wind energy in Latvia was revived in 1989, when the first wind power plant (WPP), with a capacity of 16 kW, was installed. Initially, the WPPs operated in the offline mode, with their output used for heat production. Two plants, on the northwest coast of Latvia in the Ainaži region, with a total capacity of 1.2 MW, were connected to the power grid in 1995.
Three WPPs (Nordex turbines) of 3.0 MW were installed on the coast in the neighbourhood of Ventspils between 1999 and 2002.
Also during this period, construction of a wind park began in the Liepāja district. It consisted of 33 directly-driven WPPs of the E-40 type (Enercon turbines) with a total capacity of 22 MW, constituting the largest such park in the Baltic States. The cost of construction was estimated to be US$ 22 million. Generation began in December 2002.
The sole purchaser of wind-generated energy is the state joint-stock company, Latvenergo.
At the present time about 100 MW of WPP is planned for installation over a period of 15 years.
The Institute of Physical Energetics has undertaken research into the construction of directly driven low-power WPPs with the aim of producing inexpensive and optimally designed plants.