Frequently asked questions

Dp you have some questions about renewable energy? Ask us! We will try to find answers to them! But before that check maybe somebody else has already asked your question!

What is renewable energy and what benefits does it provide?

Generally “renewable energy” is generated from renewable resources such as solar, wind, biomass, hydro and geothermal. These sources of renewable energy regenerate indefinitely. Fossil fuels such as natural gas, coal and oil  influence negatively the environment, producing significant quantities of greenhouse gases. Moreover, the use of fossil fuel increases the dependance from the external supply of energy and as follows endangers the security of energy makes the fluctuations of energy prices disadvantageous.

What is the situation in the EU regarding renewable energy?

EU is highly dependent on energy import from politically unstable regions, especially Russia whose disputes with transit countries have repeatedly disrupted supplies in recent years (one of the most visible cases is connected with Russian company Gazprom which threatened to cut off gas supplies to Ukraine on October 2007). Secondly, EU citizens experience instability of energy prices that are rising faster than autumn leaves are falling down and discounts in the shops are being announced. Thirdly, climate change is a reality, and endeavors to diminish CO2 emissions in the environment are seen as the most important tool to save European future.

Can EU influence its memberstates related to renewables?

European Union itself is a small dwarf on the political stage of energy and member states keep the upper hand on energy issues.

Why does blog focus both on Latvia and Portugal?

Latvia and Portugal have quite similar characteristic of energy field. Namely, both countries are highly dependent on external supply of energy – Portugal energy dependence on import increased from 85% in 2005 and 86% in 2006, and in Latvia this number increased from 58.2% to 63.4% in 2009, which was the biggest increase across the European Union. At the same time both countries have presented the highest share of renewable energy in total consumption – Latvia 29.9% and Portugal 23.2% referring to data of 2008, Eurostat. That means there is a good background for further development of renewable energy.

What is the current situation in Portugal with renewables?

Portugal has a relatively dense hydrographic network, an average annual high sun exposure, and has a broad seafront it benefits from the Atlantic winds. It gives it the ability to harness the energy potential of water, sun, waves and wind. Aware of its potential in terms of producing energy from renewable sources, the country has set an ambitious goal – to reduce energy dependence on fossil fuels and till 2010 to produce 39% of electricity from renewable sources. However, there is still a long way since the country continues to depend heavily on energy export.

What is the current situation in Latvia with renewables?

Currently renewable energy in Latvian energy balance is around 30-35%. As 45% of Latvia is covered with woods the most important domestic renewable-energy resource in Latvia is biomass in the form of fuelwood. However the use of wind power and solar is insignificant. Now Latvia similarly as Portugal has set an ambitious goal within the frameworks of EU energy policy – the renewable energy share of gross final energy consumption in 2020 should be 40%.

The main problems are: there is no clear energy program at Ministerial level and introduction of renewables is connected with the low financial capacity, namely, Latvia is not able to subsidize, to invest directly in renewable energy production and provide training opportunities to prepare specialists for this field.

How to promote the use of renewable energy?

It is necessary to ensure that political elites evaluate and improve their strategies, develop common vision. Unfortunately, decision makers don’t listen to the society very often. That’s why it is important to attract the attention of different organizations as well as educate consumers about positive aspects renewable energy brings with it. All these steps together are believed to make positive changes.


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