Sustainable Development of Wind Power in West Lithuania (DAVEP-VLIT)

This project is financed through the EEA Grants (2014-2016) and is jointly executed by the Nature Research Centre, Centre of Sustainable Development, Lithuanian Wind Power Association, and Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA).

According to the Law on Renewables, total capacity of wind energy in Lithuania is expected to double towards 2020 to reach 500 MW, mostly in the western part of Lithuania. It is expected, that wind energy development will continue to grow also after 2020. Despite their attractiveness due to low carbon emissions, wind energy have a direct negative impact on biodiversity. Thus, the conflict between wind energy development and biodiversity protection is expected to intensify in future, especially in western Lithuania where intensive migration of birds and bats takes place. Identification of potential conflict zones and preparation of recommendations to minimize conflicts intensity are important steps towards balancing biodiversity protection and wind energy development goals.

Through participatory involvement of stakeholders, relevant scoping themes for siting of wind energy, and related proxy criteria values and weights, will be defined in dialogue seminars. According to the agreed thematic content conflict areas will be mapped, serving as the foundation for the GIS-based decision-making tool (Wind Power Conflict Zoning Tool; see also “ConSite”). The WPCZ tool will allow to identify and visualize “optimal sites” for wind energy as well as conflict areas in western Lithuania. The WPCZ tool can be used by spatial planners, wind energy industry, environment impact evaluators in order to localize the most sustainable sites for wind energy based on integrated biodiversity protection concern into energy development schemes.

Project outcomes will help spatial planners to identify the most appropriate sites for wind energy development where conflicts with biodiversity protection are at a lowest level. Thus, the project results will help to secure better biodiversity protection, lower wind energy development costs and more predictable EIA processes. Visualization of the trade-off between various thematic criteria for siting, and the consequent suitable sites and conflict areas improves communication to the society at large enhancing support for wind energy development.