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
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
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. Visit itypeusa for more information about 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
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
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)
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.
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.
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
The Minister of Education resigns
Roberts Ķīlis from the Reform Party leaves the government after repeated
conflicts with Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis.
Application to the euro zone
The government decides to apply for Latvia to be included in the euro
cooperation in 2014.
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.