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Focus on Latvia: the Energy Union tour

European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič visited  Latvia on 1-2 February.

Focus on Latvia: the Energy Union tour

As part of the Energy Union tour, European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič visited Latvia on 1-2 February, 2018.

During the visit, he met Latvian Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis, Minister of Economics and Deputy Prime Minister Arvils Ašeradens. Discussions focused on Latvian energy security and the planned synchronisation of the Baltic states' electricity grid with the Continental European Network as part of the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan, the liberalisation of Latvia's energy markets, and its progress towards its climate and energy targets for 2020 and 2030.

The Vice-President also visited the site of the Kurzeme Ring Project in western Latvia, where a 330kV high voltage line is being constructed to boost the reliability of the region's electricity supplies.

Latvia's 37% share of renewable energy in its energy mix (according to 2016 figures) is the 3rd highest in the EU, and considerably higher than the EU average (13%). This is one reason why it imports slightly less of its energy (51%) than the EU average, although it still relies almost completely on imports for petroleum products and natural gas.

Until recently, all of the country's gas came from Russia, yet a recently-opened LNG terminal at Klaipeda has allowed it to diversify sources of supply to some extent.

Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania are working to synchronise their electricity networks with the European network (for historical reasons, they are currently synchronised with those of Russia and Belarus). The Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan initiative, coordinated by the Commission, provides a framework for these efforts and for other work to integrate the electricity and gas markets, including the needed energy infrastructure of the Baltic countries with each other and with the rest of Europe.

Vice-President Šefčovič said: «The synchronisation is the EC's top priority and my tour in Riga is yet another step to pave the way to a final political agreement on a synchronisation option by June European Council. This would allow us to prepare concrete projects and their financing from the Connecting Europe Facility under the current budgetary framework.»

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