Baltic regulators urge operators to agree on Belarusian nuclear power boycott

  • 2020-09-15
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Baltic energy market regulations have called on the countries' transmission system operators (TSOs) to agree on the terms of electricity trade with Russia as Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia plan to boycott electricity from Belarus' Astravyets nuclear power plant. 

The Baltic TSOs have informed the regulators about a divergence of views in working out a tripartite methodology for electricity trade with third countries and agreeing on certificates of origin for electricity, Lithuania's National Energy Regulatory Council (VERT) said on Tuesday. 

Vilnius worries that Belarusian electricity will flow through Russia to Latvia and, ultimately, to Lithuania unless an effective system of certificates is put in place. 

Lithuania's Litgrid maintains that in order to fully implement the three countries' agreed position to halt electricity trade with Belarus once the Astravyets plant comes online, an effective system of certificates has to be developed and put in place before cross-border electricity trade between Latvia and Russia is launched.

The Latvian and Estonian operators say, however, that the "mandate for the TSOs (...) to define and agree the common system of certificates of origin in the Baltic countries is not in the scope of the Latvia and Estonia methodology," VERT said. 

The Baltic national regulatory authorities(NRAs) "recognize that the common methodology should be applied to calculate cross-zonal capacities with the Russia and Russia Kaliningrad area in order to ensure overall electricity market functionality", the Lithuanian regulator said.

The regulators, therefore, call on the Baltic TSOs to fully cooperate and prepare a common proposal on "the terms, conditions and methodology on cross-zonal capacity calculation, provision and allocation with Russia" for all three countries, it said.  

"The Baltic NRAs encourage the Baltic TSOs, as soon as possible, to define and agree on the common Baltic TSOs methodology, preferably no later than September 18, 2020," VERT said.

"The NRAs hope to receive the common methodology from the Baltic TSOs no later than October 9, 2020, preferably earlier," it added. 

In late August, Latvia said that it would halt electricity trade with Belarus if the Astravyets plant is launched, a move hailed in Vilnius as progress in the negotiations and an example of energy solidarity.

Lithuania is the most active critic of the Astravyets plant, located some 50 kilometers from its capital, saying that it fails to meet international safety and environmental standards, an allegation that Minsk denies.