Poll in Latvia: Environmental and health impacts among the top priorities when thinking about energy production

Latvin Wind Energy Association
15.01.2021

A survey conducted by the Latvian Wind Energy Association* in cooperation with the Research Center SKDS shows that 78% of the population supports the transition to a wider use of renewable electricity resources in Latvia. Green energy is seen to bring more and more benefits; environmental and health aspects have become more important to society over the past year.

Arnis Kaktiņš, the head of the SKDS research center, says that the most important criterion for choosing electricity sources for Latvian residents has always been economic profitability (in 2018 - 50%, in 2019 - 56%, in 2020 - 53%). Interestingly, factors such as the impact on human health (45%) and the environment (43%) are now approaching the cost criterion very rapidly. In addition, these factors have increased especially among female respondents. Other commonly mentioned criteria are production efficiency (26%) and security and stability of energy supply (22%).

The pace of wind farm development is slow

“Research data show that 79% of the public supports developments of new wind power plants in Latvia. Wind is one of the most competitive sources for energy generation, accounting for 15% ** of the total electricity generation in Europe. In addition, the International Energy Agency forecasts that by 2027 wind will become Europe's primary energy source. Latvia needs to speed up its pace towards wind energy development, as it currently faces a number of obstacles in the planning process. It's no secret that Latvia lags behind its neighbors in terms of installed modern renewable energy technologies," comments Andris Vanags, head of the Latvian Wind Energy Association and, adding:" 76% of respondents believe that administrative and other barriers should be reduced in order to foster the development of local energy production. "

Currently, the greatest support for the opportunities provided by wind is seen from the residents of Kurzeme (43%), where the most wind farms have been installed so far. This serves as a clear confirmation to the locals that wind energy is suitable for Latvian conditions. The survey also reveals that Latvian residents aged 18-44 are most open to new and green solutions.

People are aware of the benefits of wind energy

“Thinking about electricity generation from wind in Latvia, 80% of the society admits that it is a sustainable means of energy production that does not depend on dwindling resources such as oil and gas. Wind is environmentally friendly and reduces the threat of climate change (77%). Two thirds believe that wind energy in Latvia would be able to attract new investments and contribute to Latvia's energy independence - thus reducing the need to import electricity and its raw materials, such as natural gas, from other countries. In addition, every second person sees wind energy as an opportunity to increase tax revenue and create new jobs. More than half of the population also agrees that wind energy development would also push the electricity price down. In addition, 39% of respondents believe that wind energy could also benefit farmers through additional land lease income, ”reveals A. Kaktins.

More information:
Evita Bille,
tel. 29448051, evita.bille@ka.lv

*The SKDS study was commissioned by the Latvian Wind Energy Association in December 2020, surveying 1,005 Latvian residents aged 18 to 75

** https://windeurope.org/about-wind/wind-energy-today/