Lithuania posted a 25-year record for electricity consumption in 2016, with demand totalling 10.47 million MWh during the year.
The growth coincides with a slide in domestic generation, leaving Lithuania ever more dependent on imports from Scandinavia and the Baltics.
Statistics published recently by national transmission system operator (TSO) Litgrid show that consumption climbed by 4.5% year on year from 10.02 million MWh in 2015. The surge in power usage was seen across the board, with growth reported in the residential, service, agriculture and transport sectors.
Demand rose in the agriculture and service sectors by 8.4% and 5.7% respectively, while consumption in the transport segment climbed by 4%. The weakest growth was reported in industry, with usage up by only 3.5%. Industry accounted for the largest share of power usage in Lithuania, at 4 million MWh, followed by the residential segment, at 2.78 million MWh.
Litgrid CEO Daivis Virbickas remarked that 2016 saw the highest annual demand for electricity in Lithuania since 1992.
“Taking into account that industry and domestic electricity is used more efficiently, the actual increase is even greater,” he was quoted as saying by local media. “Over the past few years the electricity demand of industrial and business sectors has been growing the most, whereas the transport sector holds the biggest potential for growth.”
He suggested that this potential could be tapped by switching to electric trains instead of diesel-fuelled ones.
Lithuania relies on imports for two-thirds of its consumption, with the bulk (37%) coming from Latvia, Estonia and Finland. A further 27% is delivered from Sweden via the NordBalt link and 5% from Poland via the LitPol interconnector.
Last year also saw Lithuania’s domestic generation of energy slump by 14% from 4.6 million MWh to 3.97 million MWh.
Generation from renewable sources rose by a quarter to 2 million MWh, constituting over half of national output. However, this was more than offset by a 40% fall in production at conventional sources, as Lithuania’s thermal power plants (TPPs) cut back on generation and a station in Vilnius shut down completely.
Litgrid’s CEO forecast these trends in domestic generation to continue, while highlighting the benefits of increased imports. He reported that cross-border links with Sweden and Lithuania had brought down wholesale power prices by 13%. Sweden, he said, represented the cheapest source of power in the region, owing to its abundance of hydropower generation.