More than 100 participants attended the “Wind of Change” Forum, held in Klaipeda, Lithuania, on December 7, to debate the opportunities that offshore wind energy opens up in the region. Now is the best time for investors, companies and talent to come to Klaipeda and catch the wind of change – said Virginija Ketlerienė, Regulatory Affairs Project Manager of Klaipėda ID, a non-profit city development agency.

“Wind of Change” – the forum for offshore wind energy in Lithuania – was an opportunity to share knowledge about preparatory processes and discuss the importance of infrastructure not only for strengthening energy independence and providing new business opportunities, but also in terms of increasing the prosperity of the Klaipėda region.

It is estimated that the Lithuanian offshore wind farm could produce up to 2 TWh of green electricity annually. The 700 MW power plant park is expected to be connected to the grid in 2028 and would cover up to a quarter of Lithuania’s electricity needs. Plans call for at least four offshore farms to be built on the Lithuanian coast. The investment is currently at the stage of studies and plans, as well as the development of a work schedule, which was one of the main topics of the “Wind of Change” Forum. A competition for the developer of the first Lithuanian farm in the Baltic is planned for next year.

The construction of Lithuania’s first wind farm, according to the plans, is expected to attract investments worth about €1 billion and provide nearly 1,300 new jobs, as stated by the Forum participants. The project is important not only for taking responsibility for a cleaner and more sustainable environment, but is also expected to provide a major boost to the development of municipalities in the coastal region. Offshore energy is one of the priorities and an important area of direction for the Klaipeda region’s economy. The investment will also provide an opportunity for greater cooperation between the public sector, business and academia.

Among the participants were many representatives of institutions and companies from the Baltic Sea region. – Only joint action and cooperation across borders will bring us closer to the goal of energy independence. Offshore energy, hydrogen or nuclear power are just tools. We should do everything to manage them wisely. That’s why today I’m in Klaipeda, Lithuania, building good relations based on our experience with the Pomeranian Offshore Platform. Lithuania is our natural partner and ally. Companies from both countries are interested in cooperation and implementation of joint projects – stressed Karolina Lipińska, Leader of the Pomeranian Platform for the Development of Offshore Wind Energy in the Baltic Sea, Poland.

On the occasion of the Forum, 4 Lithuanian universities, Lithuanian Maritime Academy, Klaipeda State University of Applied Sciences, Klaipeda University, and Klaipeda Paulius Lindenau Training Center signed a letter of intent with a German offshore project developer RWE Renewables. Among other things, the investor is to support Lithuania in training the personnel needed for offshore wind projects. – The Baltic Sea could become Europe’s energy hub in the future. At RWE, we want to help this goal come true, explained Andreas Hammar, Vice President Offshore Wind Development Services Nordics, Baltics, & Poland at RWE Renewables.

As part of the cooperation with universities, the plan is to exchange knowledge and experience, and to identify opportunities for joint activities, including research in the field of offshore wind energy. Joint educational programs are to be established to train educated workforce that will contribute to the region’s offshore development and accelerate the development of offshore wind energy in Lithuania, as well as in the region as a whole