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Latvia Energy and Environment Facts

 

Natural resources and energy

Latvia is poor in processed minerals but has rich stocks of peat, limestone, sand and clay as well as plenty of forest, which is used for the production of wood products. There are also some small oil and gas reserves.

Latvia Energy and Environment Facts

To meet its energy needs, Latvia needs to import gas and oil - a large part comes from Russia. Latvia has long had Russia as the only supplier of natural gas, which has been perceived as problematic, not least because Moscow has occasionally used energy supplies as a political weapon against countries. But from 2015, Latvia also has the opportunity to import some gas from the Klaipéda Liquefied Gas (LNG) plant in Lithuania. Latvia also has natural underground layers of natural gas.

  • COUNTRYAAH: Major exports by Latvia with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.

One goal is for the Baltic countries, which have historically been part of the electricity grid between Belarus and Russia, to be integrated with the European electricity and energy market from 2025. Several power lines have been established between the Baltic countries and Finland, Sweden and Poland, with EU support. Electricity is imported from Estonia and Lithuania, but the need is also met by production within the country, mainly with hydropower but also with gas, biofuels and wind power. By mid-2010, Latvia was the second largest user in the EU of renewable energy after Sweden. The Government's goal is that 40 percent of energy consumption will come from renewable energy sources by 2020, but by the middle of the 2010s this goal was about to be achieved.

In Soviet times, Latvia covered almost all of its energy needs with supplies from other parts of the Soviet Union. Gas, oil and coal were mainly imported from Russia, while Estonia and Lithuania supplied electricity. Just over a tenth of the electricity was produced in Latvia.

  • Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, LV stands for Latvia.

The electricity market in Latvia has been completely liberalized since 2015, but deregulation has led to sharply increased electricity prices. At the beginning of 2016, Parliament decided to also launch a liberalization of the gas market and allow other companies to compete with the gas company Latvijas Gāze, where Russian gas giant Gazprom is one of the main owners.

Latvia has an old tradition of conservation, but during the Soviet era the heavy industries, like the military bases, caused severe air, water and soil pollution. A great deal of work has since been done to clean the environment.

Latvia's emissions of greenhouse gases are lower than in other EU countries, which is partly due to the high use of renewable energy and that economic development is lower and therefore does not impose as much strain on the environment.

FACTS - ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT

Energy use per person

2,177 kilograms of oil equivalent (2014)

Electricity consumption per person

3507 kilowatt hours, kWh (2014)

Carbon dioxide emissions in total

6 975 thousand tonnes (2014)

Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant

3.5 tons (2014)

The share of energy from renewable sources

38.1 percent (2015)

2013

November

Dombrovskis resigns after an accident

Latvia is suffering its worst disaster since independence, when the roof of a supermarket in Riga collapses and 54 people are killed. Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis surprisingly announces that he is resigning and taking political responsibility for what has happened. Dombrovski's government continues as an expedition minister until a new coalition can be formed.

NATO exercise in Latvia

The defense alliance NATO's military exercise is the largest in several years. The Baltic countries have long requested a clear readiness from NATO to meet possible crises in the region. Prior to the NATO exercise, Russia and Belarus have major maneuvers in the Baltic region.

October

Demand for demolition of monuments in Riga

An infected public debate is the result of a name-gathering, in which Latvian nationalists demand that the Soviet so-called victory monument in Riga be demolished. The issue is sensitive to the Russian minority and Latvia's relationship with Russia. The Foreign Ministry in Riga refers to an agreement with Russia from 1994, where both parties promised to protect historic sites.

June

Success for the opposition

The Social Democratic Harmonic Center wins the local elections in Riga in a coalition with a local party, and Russian-speaking mayor Nil Ushakov is re-elected. Prime Minister Dombrovski's Party Unity makes a bad choice and becomes only the third largest party.

Bank receives high fines

Finansinspektionen convicts an unnamed Latvian bank to the maximum fine, 100,000 lats (SEK 1.2 million), for money laundering. The bank has handled some of the sums embezzled from the Russian state in the tax fraud revealed by Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, now deceased. Magnitsky's investment company accused six banks in Latvia of receiving money from the fraud acquisition.

Latvian membership in the euro zone

The EU will give Latvia the sign of introducing the euro in 2014 (see Finance).

April

The Minister of Education resigns

Roberts Ķīlis from the Reform Party leaves the government after repeated conflicts with Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis.

March

Application to the euro zone

The government decides to apply for Latvia to be included in the euro cooperation in 2014.

January

Income tax is lowered

Income tax will be lowered from 25 to 24 percent, according to a plan that entails gradual reductions to 20 percent in 2015.

 

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