The Baltic Course  

Always on the move 

By Olga Andreyeva

Riga Managers School (RMS) implements a project “The Perspectives of Wind Energy Development in Latvia” within the framework of the EU PHARE programme. RMS’ senior consultant Alexandr Gamaleyev (BC) is reporting on this project.


Photo: EWEA

There are no other branches of energy developing so rapidly in the world as wind energy, with the turnover of 7 billion euros to date. According to the prognosis of European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) the scope of wind energy market will reach 25 billion euros by 2010, and 75 billion – by 2020.

Wind provides electricity presently to about 40 million Europeans and 100,000 people are already employed in this sector. The number of wind energy users only in Europe will reach 86 million people by 2010. And this is only the beginning. The capacity of wind energy facilities (WEF) in the whole world by 2020 will raise 40 times, compared to the present situation! Then the sources of wind energy will provide 12% of electric energy needs in the whole world.

Unique resource

Total volume of energy produced by WEF in Latvia is only 27 MW (one thousandth of European total). However, the conditions for such facilities` construction in coastal zone are rather good. Particularly effective are so called offshore stations, constructed right in the sea, where obstacles for wind flows are much less. According to specialists’ calculations, it is possible to build WEF with capacity to 600 MW on the coast of Kurzeme (from the border of Lithuania up to the Kolka cape).

Basic restrictions, which prevent implementation of wind energy program in Latvia, are mainly connected to tariff policy as well as to the fact, that the WEF’ construction permit is issued by the regulator of social services. As far back as in the 90s the law was adopted, according to which the energy, produced by natural resources, is sold to the state at the double tariff. That, of course, is favorable to businessmen, but not to the state. Accordingly, after this, the government represented by the regulator, has set strict limitations on new WEFs construction. A. Gamaleyev believes that today we need different, much reasonable politics regarding wind energy.


The Latvian project is a part of the major European project “Development of Wind Energy in the Baltic Region” with about 30 participating companies from Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Russia and Norway. Latvia is represented by RMS. The project is implemented within the framework and funding of the EU program INTERREG. 

The goals of the project are quite ambitious, i.e. provision of information on target audiences interested in wind energy development, establishment of Wind Energy Association, creation of Internet website, and also organization of distance learning for developers and operators of the project and demonstration of the latest experience.

First of all, says A. Gamaleyev, the project has to attract the attention of government structures adopting laws and municipal bodies granting permission to WEFs construct, and also the local investors and developers of wind energy projects – the Western investors have long been ‘holding their hand on the pulse’ and waiting for changes in legislation that, upon Latvia’s accession to the European Union, are inevitable.

The effectiveness of the wind energy project depends to a great extent on the right selection of location for WEFs building. As it is known, the capacity of wind current depends on the speed, calculated in cubic meters’ units. If you build your WEF on a place where the average annual speed of the wind is just by 1 m/s higher than that of your neighbor, your station will produce already 1.5 times more electric power a year. Here, every 100 meters back or forth at the optimal location may bear a critical significance.

Because of this, RMS believes that the most essential part of its work in PHARE project is the creation of Latvian wind energy atlas – the basic document for all those who are interested in WEF’ construction. Another important event is an international conference on this subject with the title “Development of Wind Energy in the Baltic Sea Region”, to be held in June 2004 in Riga.

Environmentalists’ concern

The unique feature of wind energy is that it is harmless to the environment. Only ornithologists voiced concern that windmills might pose harm to migratory birds. It is possible to prevent such problem, according to A. Gamaleyev, by means of producing wind energy atlas, which will contain not only directions of wind currents, but also routes of migratory birds. Research of the last 10 years shows that within a radius of 100 meters from the WEF, there is no harm to ecology caused. According to polls held in various European countries, an average of population favor the construction of wind stations.

Electrical power generation sources in Latvia (forecast for 2003)


Share in %

Major hydropower stations (HPS)



Electricity imported



TPS (Thermal Power Stations)



Co-generation stations (utilize wood, turf, household waste)



Renewable sources of energy, including



Small HPS






Biomass and biogas from organic waste






Source: Latvian Development Agency.