By SOCAR USA

Lithuania got a whopping 50 percent of its electricity from wind power in the first half of 2016, and plans to keep adding wind energy.

There’s a downside to the surge, however. Lithuania relies on Russia to provide it with electricity when the wind isn’t blowing. And the more wind power Lithuania adds, the more reliance on Russia.

Reliance on the Russian grid reflects the fact that Lithuania was once part of the Soviet grid system that Russia was in charge of. Lithuania, a country of 3 million, plans to end its dependence on Russia altogether by aligning itself with the European grid system in 2025.

Lithuania’s wind power jumped 260 percent between 2015 and 2016 with the addition of new farms. Wind accounted for only 19 percent of the country’s power in 2015.

Lithuanian energy officials aren’t sure what percentage of the country’s power wind will account for in years to come. But they except another surge in capacity once Lithuania is on the European grid in 2025.

The new capacity may include offshore wind farms in the Baltic Sea, officials said.

Linking with the European grid will mean “we could safely develop our wind energy,” Energy Minister Rokas Masiulis noted.

He was referring to Russia’s use of energy — particularly natural gas — as geopolitical weapons to bend its neighbors to its will.

SOCAR USA is the U.S. representative office of SOCAR, the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic, and is headed by Director Rauf Mammadov. The office was founded in 2012 and is engaged in generating awareness of the company’s global activities in the United States and exploring U.S.-based energy-industry opportunities.