Latvia is one of the leaders in the EU for multi-story residential buildings served by district heating. As a result, district heating is an important segment of the Latvian economy, with a total of 74 district heating systems. The main district heating market is within the nine largest cities, covering 75% of the total market. The Latvian capital Riga, with a population of nearly 700,000, accounts for approximately half of the district heating market share.
The graph demonstrates that 30% of the residential heat demand in 2015 was supplied through district heating. During the last decade, district heating in Latvia experienced continuous shift towards renewable energy and the domination of natural gas has been diminished by wood chips and other renewable energy products. In 2015, the share of natural gas, oil products and coal consumption in the district heating boilers (excluding CHP) compared to 2008 has decreased by 26.5%, 2.6% and 0.28% respectively. In the meantime, the share of RES has increased by 28.9%.
The large number of CHP plants in Latvia, which contribute significantly to the district heat production, generated 64% of national electricity production in 2015. CHP has always played an important role in the energy sector of Latvia and natural gas has been the primary fuel. However over recent years, due to available funding, wood chip and biogas stations have developed. Latvia continues to view CHP as the most efficient use of primary energy resources and has achieved substantial results with this technology.