Getting gas out of district heating in the Baltics
Briefing | 12 October 2022
The Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have been some of the European Union (EU) Member States to make the most ambitious plans to phase out fossil fuels in their heating systems in the past decade. Their extensive district heating systems have the potential to be a major asset to lowering their respective emissions if they are made more efficient and incorporate more renewable sources. The war in Ukraine and subsequent EU strategy to phase out Russian gas, paired with the resulting cutting off of gas flows to the EU from Russia, has made this goal to phase out gas-based district heating even more urgent. If taken seriously, it could make the region real front runners in renewable district heat in the EU.
This briefing reviews the district heating situation in the Baltics and the opportunities for decarbonising the systems in these countries. It highlights good examples in Tallinn, Estonia; Salaspils, Latvia; and Vilnius, Lithuania that can inspire other central and eastern European municipalities to switch to renewables.