From gas to biomass — Lithuanian experience
The most important thing — economic indicators due to the transition from imported gas to local biomass fuel can reduce costs for consumers and reduce CO2 emissions.
- Lithuania’s bioenergy sector generated a turnover of about 300 million euros, the employment rate — about 7,500 people in 2019.
- The average salary in this sector is about 1.5 times higher than the average salary in Lithuania.
- This is a large export industry.
Heat production in Lithuania
The share of renewable energy sources and household waste in DH has doubled in recent years: from 43% (2012) to 82% (2019), while the role of natural gas has decreased significantly. For comparison: in 2000, most heat was generated from natural gas (61%) and oil (20%), and only 3% from bioenergy and waste. Roles have changed, and bioenergy and waste became the main source of heat (56%) in 2019, while the share of natural gas and oil decreased significantly to 18% and 0.4%, respectively. See charts for a better understanding of trends.
The market of heat production sector
In 2019, there were 49 heat supply companies in the Lithuanian DH sector with annual sales of more than 10 GWh. These companies are mainly owned by municipalities in 60 cities and districts of Lithuania. In addition to 49 municipal suppliers, there are 44 independent heat producers.
Competition from independent heat producers has increased significantly. They are now accounting for 34% (2869 GWh) of total heat supplied to DH networks. The amount of heat purchased from independent heat producers and / or produced by the DH companies themselves is determined by a monthly auction organized on the Baltpool exchange. It will be recalled that the UABIO team is now actively cooperating with Lithuanian colleagues, whose experience in reforming the energy sector and the biofuel market is the closest and most adaptive for Ukraine.
Video from the opening of the project «Digitization of the Central Heating Sector of Ukraine» (in Ukrainian):
Lithuania and its 3 million inhabitants were heavily dependent on natural gas imports from Russia. In 2014, Lithuania became a member of the EU. The country paid the highest price in the EU for imported gas — a price that was considered political. However, a lot of local biomass resources have been (and remain) available. From 2000 to 2018, the use of biomass in the district heating sector increased from 2% to 67.5%, largely displacing imported gas in district heating.
Biomass used by Lithuania
The main reason for such a significant increase in renewable fuel was the use of forest biomass in Lithuania, where forests cover 33.2% of the country’s territory (2.2 million hectares). In addition, the price of using biomass for heating is 3 times lower than the price of natural gas. The amount of biomass per unit of population in Lithuania is one of the highest in the European Union.
More information and sources:
- Lithuanian forest biomass resources: legal, economic and ecological aspects of their use and potential: https://bit.ly/3kNPxXX.
- Lithuania 2021, Energy Policy Review, INTERNATIONAL ENERGY AGENCY: https://bit.ly/3BIP7ch.