Klaipėda District residents support the development of renewable energy in Lithuania

13 March 2024

Climate change is a threat that can be tackled by replacing traditional energy sources with renewable energy generation. This is the view of a growing number of Lithuanian citizens, including residents of the Klaipėda district elderships of Vėžaičiai and Endriejavas. In these elderships, 85 percent of residents agree that climate change is affecting the world, and 65 percent believe that renewable energy generation is an important factor in stopping climate change. The majority of residents in Vėžaičiai and Endriejavas elderships support the development of wind and solar parks in their neighbourhoods.

On the initiative of Ignitis Renewables, an international green energy company, the KOG Institute of Marketing and Communication Sciences conducted a representative survey of the residents of Vėžaičiai and Endriejavas elderships. During live meetings in October and November 2023, 250 inhabitants aged 16 years and older were interviewed.

The survey also revealed that 81 percent of the residents of these elderships in Klaipėda District welcome the development of renewable energy in Lithuania.

In addition, 85 percent of respondents believe that it is strategically important for Lithuania to secure energy independence and to generate all the electricity it needs itself. Two thirds (65 percent) of respondents believe that the generation of energy from wind, solar and other renewable sources can make a significant contribution to Lithuania’s economic growth. Sixty-one percent believe renewable energy generation can serve the needs of the local community, and 58 percent believe it can benefit the regional economy.

“The survey data reflects global trends showing that people are increasingly aware and supportive of renewable energy projects. This reflects a growing environmental awareness and a willingness to be part of the changes that will help to stop climate change. The development of renewable energy is the foundation of the world’s energy transformation and the support of the population for wind and solar power projects is therefore crucial. The survey showed that there is no shortage of such support from the residents of Vėžaičiai and Endriejavas elderships in Klaipėda District,” says Lina Žibienė, Head of Environment and Permitting at Ignitis Renewables.

No climate change in one’s own backyard

Dr Judita Liukaitytė-Kukienė, Advisor to the Climate Policy Group at the Ministry of Environment, elaborates on the impacts of climate change. “In many surveys we see that climate change seems far away before it reaches our homes. However, coastal residents have already faced a number of flooding emergencies this winter. Last summer’s storms also caused a lot of damage in various municipalities across Lithuania. The climate is becoming more and more extreme, and we can see that the damage to Lithuania is also considerable. According to the European Environment Agency, in 2021 alone, the damage amounted to EUR 93 million,” says the environmental expert.

Seventy percent of the residents of Vėžaičiai and Endriejavas elderships think that climate change is a threat to Lithuania and the Baltic region as a whole, but only 30 percent of respondents think that the area they live in is under threat. In other words, they do not see how global issues can affect them personally.

“Data from a representative survey conducted during the live meetings with residents shows that residents of Vėžaičiai and Endriejavas elderships of Klaipėda District understand the threat of climate change and are not indifferent to global environmental problems. The vast majority (84 percent) also understand that every person and business can contribute to solving these problems,” says L. Žibienė.

The attitudes of the inhabitants of Vėžaičiai and Endriejavas elderships are similar to those of other Europeans. A Europe-wide survey of 26 European countries carried out at the end of last year by the research company Norstat showed that two thirds of Europeans welcome the development of solar and wind parks.

Energy projects are valuable for communities

“Maintaining close relationships with the communities in which we operate and with non-governmental organisations is one of the key principles of our sustainable and responsible operations. We want the renewable energy projects we build and manage to create value for the region as a whole, for local communities and businesses. Partnerships based on mutual trust are important to us, so we try to listen to the needs of the population and find opportunities for sustainable cooperation,” says the expert of Ignitis Renewables.

According to L. Žibienė, the development of renewable energy is not only vital to achieving climate goals and Lithuania's energy independence, but also boosts the economy, allows attracting investment, creating jobs, and improving local infrastructure as well as contributes to regional development.

Green energy projects are being developed in Lithuania in a targeted manner and green energy reaches the homes of electricity consumers more and more often.  

Ignitis Renewables is currently carrying out environmental impact assessment procedures in Vėžaičiai and Endriejavas elderships, assessing 40 potential wind plant sites. Their total power could reach up to 250 megawatts (MW). The company is also considering the installation of a solar park and electricity storage facilities in this part of Klaipėda District.