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NREL: NREL and Lithuanian Energy Agency Partner To Launch 100% Renewable Energy Study

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On Oct. 31, 2022, NREL Director Martin Keller and Lithuanian Energy Agency (LEA) Director Virgilijus Poderys signed a cooperative research and development agreement for a multiyear study to develop pathways for how Lithuania can achieve a secure, reliable, and 100% carbon-free electricity system.

“Cooperation with NREL, which has best-of-the-best experience in the field of renewable energy research, will not only help to strengthen mutual relations but will also significantly contribute to the promotion of the internationality of the Lithuanian Energy Agency and the strengthening of analytical abilities and scientific competences, thus creating opportunities for the formation of evidence-based state policy in the energy sector in Lithuania,” Poderys said.

“NREL is excited for this first-of-its-kind collaboration with the Lithuanian Energy Agency,” Keller said, echoing enthusiasm for the partnership. “This study will leverage the full breadth of the lab’s expertise to understand the pathways, innovations, and impacts related to achieving a 100% clean energy future for Lithuania.”

The agreement supports a memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Lithuania and the U.S. Department of Energy to help Lithuania reach its goals of energy security and the transition to a climate-neutral energy sector.

“In order to move towards 100% renewable energy and to decarbonize our industry, we will need to more than triple the amount of renewable energy generation in Lithuania,” Lithuanian Minister of Energy Dainius Kreivys said. “This is a big challenge for a country that today still imports two-thirds of its electricity.

“We hope that, together with NREL’s scientists, we will be well prepared to achieve this goal and that the study will allow us to maintain a secure, stable electricity grid during this period of enormous transformation. I also hope that NREL will benefit from the opportunity to monitor the deployment of renewables in the nationwide grid and their impact on grid performance.”

The Lithuania 100% Renewable Energy Study
The agreement’s signing officially launches the Lithuania 100% Renewable Energy Study (LT100), modeled after the Los Angeles 100% Renewable Energy Study (LA100). NREL and LEA will work together to evaluate a range of future scenarios and equip decision-makers in Lithuania with answers to many critical energy transition questions. By embarking on this cooperation, Lithuania will also be the first country in the world to implement this study model to achieve a transition of its energy sector to 100% renewable energy.

The study is designed around four technical focus areas:

100% Pathways for Lithuania’s Power System
Distribution Grid Planning and Analysis
Opportunities for Hydrogen Production and Utilization
Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Air Quality, and Health Benefits.
Results from the study’s analysis will help LEA understand and plan for issues related to feasibility, reliability, public health, and equitable local economic development, including job opportunities and local hiring programs in renewable energy. Further, results will empower Lithuania to effectively harness the country’s domestic energy resources and accelerate its journey to energy independence.

While the agreement spans four years in total, the bulk of the study will be completed and published at the end of the second year. The final two years will include direct support from NREL for capacity building, training, and implementation.

“This will not only be a study but a mutual cooperation and exchange of knowledge between two institutions with similar goals who can use the results in the end for their unique purposes,” said Vytautas Budreika, head of the Center for Energy Security and Innovations at LEA.

“This is also an opportunity for NREL to learn, just like we learned in the LA100 study where we developed new modeling capabilities and linkages between models that didn’t exist before,” said Ilya Chernyakhovskiy, a grid systems analyst in NREL’s Grid Planning and Analysis Center and LT100’s principal investigator.

“We hope to achieve the same success with LT100 and develop capabilities that can be scaled not only in Lithuania but for other countries in Europe and beyond.”

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