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Lithuania considers carrying out another key energy project without Latvia, Estonia

  • 2017-09-12
  • LETA/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - With the three Baltic countries yet again failing to find a common position, Lithuania is considering carrying out a key strategic energy project for synchronizing the power grid with the Western European system without Latvia and Estonia.

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said unexpectedly during his visit to Warsaw last week that an agreement would be signed with Poland shortly.

Virgilijus Poderys, chairman of the Seimas' Energy Commission, also says that Lithuania should get ready for "Plan B".

"Given how events are unfolding, it's time for Lithuania to prepare itself for Plan B, that is, to synchronize with the continental European network on its own, without tying itself to Latvian and Estonian energy plans," Poderys said.

Politicians say that Russia is already making preparations for disconnecting the Baltic grids from the Soviet-era BRELL ring, which also includes Belarus, and might demand a lot of money for not doing so.

According to information from the European Network of Transmission System Operators (ENTSO-E), Russia is building a new line at its border with Estonia, thus reinforcing its domestic lines, and a line at its border with Belarus, which, in turn, will build lines from the Astravyets nuclear power plant. A new electricity ring is thus being formed. Russia is also taking steps to ensure independence of the electricity system of its Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad by building new combined and heat power plants.

"Russia today is preparing for our synchronization and for closed operation and it is doing everything to close the BRELL circuit without us. I won't be surprised if we are cut off in several years' time," Dainius Kreivys, an opposition MP and a member of the parliament's Energy Commission, told BNS.

Lithuania's power transmission system operator Litgrid would not comment on the idea of Lithuania synchronizing its grid with Poland without the other two Baltic countries

Rimvydas Stilinis, chairman of the company's management board, says that such an idea has not been analyzed yet, adding that if a political decision is made, the operator will then look into whether this is technically possible.

If Lithuania decided to carry out the project on its own, it would have to build converters at its border with Latvia to connect the power systems that would then operate in different synchronous modes.