The main tasks of the Latvian Member Committee are to cooperate with the World Energy Council and the other National Committees, as well as other national and international energy organizations; encourage domestic energy exploration, extraction, recycling and efficient use; promote the transportation of imported energy resources, conversion and use in all respects; address energy supply problems taking into account social and environmental aspects; act as an information coordinator to work with other energetic problem solving organizations; participate in congresses, assemblies, conferences, forums, and other events and to organize them; and disseminate information on its activities.
Namejs Zeltins has been the Chair of the Latvian Member Committee of the World Energy Council since 2001. He is also a Member of the European WEC Group, a Member of the Board of the National Energy Confederation, and a Professor at Riga Technical University. He is a Learned Secretary of the Nuclear Energy Competence Centre of LAS and a Member of the Advisory Editorial Board of Polish AS “Energy Policy Journal. He is the Head of the Energy Efficiency Centre, IPE LAS. His academic interests include fuel and energy complex planning, heat and gas supply systems, the energy market and energy utilisation.
Energy in Latvia
Comparing 2019 and 2020 results, Latvia’s energy leaders reframe their uncertainties landscape with stronger attention to macroeconomic issues such as Commodity and Electricity Prices and are less concerned with geopolitical issues such as Russia and EU Cohesion. Actions continue to focus on energy technologies, but they are now perceived with reduced impact.
Commodity and Electricity Prices lead the uncertainties section. The Increase in CO2 prices have sharply raised electricity prices in Latvia due to its dependence on power imports. Fluctuations in gas prices have also influenced heating prices. Concerns about changes in neighbouring markets keep this issue high on the agenda.
Climate Framework is seen with greater impact and becomes a Critical Uncertainty. Latvia’s objective to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 has set a target that challenges the whole sector. The country has historically had low CO2 emissions per capita, and further reductions require substantial efforts.
EU Cohesion continues to be perceived as a Critical Uncertainty but to a lesser extent. The development of Latvian energy policy is strongly influenced by EU directives and common objectives and the country has set a clear path to achieve these goals via enabling policies, an investment framework and incentives.
Energy Efficiency leads the Actions section with greater impact. Higher energy prices have improved the financial attractiveness of efficiency investments. Raising energy efficiency in the industrial sector is closely linked to the implementation of the EU sustainable development strategy and to creating a balance between economic growth and cleaner production.
Digitalisation is seen with reduced uncertainty and becomes an Action Priority. Although digitalisation is not specifically regulated at the state level, technology developments require a policy and regulatory framework that can enable the development of new solutions to optimise processes and reduce expenditure.
Hydro persists as an Action Priority. As Latvia’s main source of electricity generation, hydro is very well placed in the regional power market and continues to benefit the country. The ability of the Daugava HPPs to generate electricity depends on water inflow from the Daugava River. During the flooding period, it is possible to cover the demand for electricity and trade the excess on the Nord Pool exchange. Outside the flooding season, it is possible to accumulate water and generate electricity when demand and prices on the exchange are higher.
The structure of energy supply in Latvia can be considered as balanced and sufficiently diversified. Energy efficiency plays an important role in EU energy policy. To ensure Latvia’s energy supply system integration in the regional and EU energy markets, Latvia needs a long-term vision for the development of the energy sector.
Critical Uncertainties such as Russia, Energy Subsidies and EU Cohesion remained relevant and changes are not expected in 2019. Russia remains a significant factor for Latvian energy sector due to the geopolitical and historical context. Action priorities should still include solutions for renewable energy, energy efficiency, regional cooperation and integration and stable commodity prices.