Last year 51 % of the total electricity generated in Latvia were produced in CHP plants
Latest data compiled by the Central Statistical Bureau show that 2 990.2 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity were produced in combined heat and power (CHP)1 plants2 in 2021, which is 50.1 GWh or 2 % more than in 2020.
The electricity produced by CHP plants has constituted more than a half of the total electricity produced in the country for the past ten years (except for 2012 and 2017), and in 2021 the share reached 51 %.
Compared to 2020, last year the amount of heat produced in CHP plants grew by 13 %, reaching 5 688.9 GWh or 66 % of the total amount of heat produced in Latvia (8 677.3 GWh). Upturn in the heat production may be explained by lower mean air temperature during the heating season.
Indicators characterizing activities of CHP plants in 2021
Installed electrical capacity of CHP plants
Number of CHP plants
Installed electrical capacity, MW
Electricity produced, GWh
Heat produced, GWh
≤ 0.2 MW
0.2 < P* ≤ 0.5 MW
0.5 < P ≤ 1 MW
1 < P ≤ 5 MW
5 < P ≤ 20 MW
> 20 MW
* P – electrical capacity
Decline in the number of CHP plants and total electrical capacity
In 2017 the greatest number of CHP plants of the past ten years was recorded – 204 plants, however it has been declining gradually since 2018. Compared to 2020, in 2021 the number of CHP plants has reduced by 9 and accounts for 153 in total. Several plants discontinued their activity as no longer were granted a right to sell electricity within the framework of mandatory procurement.
In 2021 the total electrical capacity of CHP plants reached 1 268.1 MW, which is 6.1 MW fewer than in 2020 and 31.0 MW fewer than in 2017.
97 % of electrical capacity in public and 3 % in autoproducer CHP plants
Over the past ten years, the share of electrical capacity of public3 CHP plants (1 239.3 MW in 2021) on average has comprised 97 % of the total electrical capacity of CHP plants in the country, while that of autoproducer4 CHP plants (28.8 MW in 2021) – 3 %. In 2021, 84 % of the total electrical capacity of CHP plants and 36 % of the total electrical capacity in the country were in four public CHP plants with installed electrical capacity exceeding 20 MW. Three of the plants were located in Riga and one in Zemgale region.
Compared to 2020, in 2021 electrical capacity of CHP plants using renewables has dropped by 4.5 MW
Over the past ten years the share of electrical capacity in CHP plants fuelled by fossil fuels has reduced, while that in CHP plants fuelled by renewable energy sources has increased. The most notable increase in the electrical capacity of CHP plants using renewables was observed in 2012 and 2013 (of 80.2 MW). Between 2013 and 2021 the share of electrical capacity in CHP plants running on renewables varied between 9–12 % of the total electrical capacity of CHP plants. Compared to the year before, in 2021 electrical capacity of CHP plants using renewables dropped by 4.5 MW and constituted 151.8 MW.
Largest share of electrical capacity in CHP plants using renewables in Vidzeme and Zemgale
In 2021, the largest share of renewables-fuelled CHP plants (in terms of installed electrical capacity) was recorded in Vidzeme (98 %) and Zemgale (97 %), moreover the total electrical capacity of the region power plants constituted 29.0 MW and 56.5 MW, respectively. The share of electrical capacity of CHP plants running on renewables in Kurzeme and Pierīga constituted 75 % and 60 % of the total electrical capacity of CHP plants in the region (23.7 MW in Kurzeme and 48.9 MW and Pierīga). The largest share of electrical capacity of CHP plants using fossil fuels was observed in Riga and Latgale – 99 % and 72 % of the total electrical capacity of CHP plants in the region, respectively (1 069.5 MW in Riga and 40.5 MW in Latgale).
In 2020 and 2021 similar amount of electricity produced from renewables
Last year, similar to the amount produced in 2020, 861.8 GWh of electricity were produced in plants using renewables, however production of electricity in CHP plants has gone up three times over the past ten years. The rise in the amount of electricity produced in CHP plants fuelled by renewables is facilitated by the state aid.
In 2021, the amount of electricity produced in CHP plants using renewables accounted for 23 % of the national electricity generated from renewables (15 % were generated in biomass CHP plants and 8 % in biogas CHP plants).
Highest amount of electricity produced in Riga, lowest in Kurzeme and Vidzeme
The highest amount of electricity was produced in Riga, where during the past five years electricity production varied between 53 % and 71 % of the total electricity generated in CHP plants. Kurzeme and Vidzeme indicated the lowest amount of electricity generated out of the total electricity produced in CHP plants. During the past five years, the share of the regions constituted 4 % and 5 %, respectively. Over a five-year period, electricity production in Pierīga and Zemgale varied between 8 % and 13 %, while share of electricity produced in CHP plants located in Latgale has dropped from 10 % in 2017 to 6 % in 2021.
Electricity produced in CHP plants by region, 2021
Last year upturn in consumption of fuelwood and natural gas, downturn in biogas consumption recorded
Heat and electricity production in CHP plants mainly is based on the consumption of natural gas, fuelwood (wood chips, wood waste and pelleted wood) and biogas. Compared to 2020, in 2021 consumption of fuelwood rose by 14 % and of natural gas by 3 %, whereas consumption of biogas went down by 19 %. Over the ten-year period, the share of natural gas consumed in CHP plants has dropped from 86 % to 57 %, while the share of renewables has risen notably, reaching 43 % in 2021.
Latvia aims5 at reaching 50 % of renewable energy in gross final consumption of energy and reducing Latvian energy dependency upon imports of energy resources by 2030. Share of renewable energy in Latvian final energy consumption accounted for 42.13 % in 2020.
Information on activities of CHP plants will be published on 21 June in the Official statistics portal section Energy.
1 Cogeneration (combined heat and power production) – simultaneous generation of electricity and heat in the same technological device and cycle using natural gas, biogas, solid fuels, liquid fuels and fuelwood.
2 A CHP plant consists of cogeneration devices and heat peak load boiler devices.
3 Public CHP plants are those the main activity whereof is production of electricity and heat (NACE Rev. 2, Division 35 “Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply”).
4 Autoproducer CHP plants are generating heat for their own production and technological use and partly for sale (all Divisions of NACE Rev. 2., except for Division 35).