Ignitis Renewables to commence work on its solar portfolio in Latvia

20 February 2024

Ignitis Renewables, a leading international green energy company operating in the Baltic states and Poland, has made the final investment decision on its 239 megawatt (MW) solar portfolio in Latvia, the largest of its kind in the Baltic states, with construction works to commence in the first quarter of this year. This decision marks a significant milestone in the region’s journey towards decarbonisation and energy security and reaffirms Ignitis Renewables' commitment to creating a green and secure energy ecosystem. 

“Latvia is a part of our home market, where Ignitis Renewables is actively expanding its activities and sees great growth opportunities. A third of our total project pipeline is in Latvia. The decision to move forward with construction marks an important step in our expansion within the Baltic states and its broader strategy for green energy development,” stated Thierry Aelens, CEO at Ignitis Renewables. 

He emphasises the strategic importance of this development. “This investment decision aligns perfectly with our mission to expand our green generation segment. These projects in Latvia are pivotal for our progress towards our goal to install 4–5 gigawatts (GW) of green generation capacities by 2030,” he stated. 

This portfolio comprises three separate solar power plants in Latvia, a 94 MW Vārme solar project and a 145 MW Stelpe solar project, consisting of two stand-alone developments. In total, the installed capacity of the planned solar parks should reach up to 239 MW. This will be enough to cover the electricity demand of around 100,000 households in Latvia per year. With grid capacity fully secured for these installations, the projects are poised to significantly bolster the renewable energy production in the region. 

The Vārme solar power plant will be in Vārme parish, Kuldīgas county, while the Stelpe power plants will be in Barbele and Stelpe parishes, Bauskas county. The construction of the solar power plants is expected to commence in in the first quarter of 2024, with completion and commercial operation scheduled for 2025. Additionally, wind hybridisation options have been identified for all solar power plants, aiming to utilise the same grid connection points. 

The total investment for this ambitious initiative is estimated at up to EUR 178 million, encompassing both construction and project acquisition costs. Within the coming years, Ignitis Renewables is planning to invest around EUR 700 million in Latvia. Most of the investments will be directed towards renewable energy projects. 

Emphasis on community engagement and support 

Sustainable and close cooperation with communities that are located near the renewable energy projects in operation, under construction and under development is at the core of the company’s approach. 

“Partnership with local communities is the basis of sustainable development of Ignitis Renewables. We care about the environment we work in, and so we are open to suggestions on how we could create a more sustainable world together. We want for our renewable energy projects in operation and under construction to create value for the entire region, local communities and business. A partnership based on mutual trust is important to us, so we try to listen to the needs of local communities and find opportunities for sustainable cooperation,” said Baiba Lāce, Head of Ignitis Renewables in Latvia. 

Ignitis Renewables is pleased to announce the continuation of its community support initiative for the third consecutive year. This program will extend financial aid to local communities neighbouring the Vārme and Stelpe solar park projects.  

Following the successful allocation of funds in the previous year to community projects in Lithuania and Poland, Ignitis Renewables reaffirms its commitment to enhancing local well-being. In 2023, the company allocated a total of EUR 350,000 to various projects, furthering its dedication to positively impact the regions surrounding its renewable energy projects. 

Environmental protection is at the forefront throughout the projects’ development 

Ignitis Renewables is pioneering a unique environmental protection initiative in their Vārme and Stelpe solar park projects, a first in Latvia. This initiative goes beyond the standard mandated environmental care practices, introducing a tailored program of environmental measures within solar parks under development by the company. 

This program, initiated in collaboration with Latvian birds and mammal specialists, aims to not only safeguard local species but also enhance their habitat in areas surrounding the planned projects. Measures include installing hunting perches for predatory birds and creating safe passages for larger animals with ramps and special gates at the solar power plants. 

Additionally, in partnership with experts from the Latvian Nature Foundation, Ignitis Renewables has developed a strategy to reintroduce natural meadow habitats and grasslands. Landscape professionals have also contributed, offering guidance for implementing measures that preserve the natural landscape. This holistic approach underscores Ignitis Renewables' commitment to environmental protection in renewable energy development.