VILNIUS – Half of third-country electricity imported to and consumed in Lithuania recently was generated by Belarus' nuclear power plant (NPP), Energy Minister Dainius Kreivys said on Wednesday, adding that Lithuania has already paid almost 4 million euros for the Astravyets electricity.
Belarusian electricity physically comes via the Lithuania-Belarus interconnection and although the law bans from selling it in Lithuania, the same amount is traded in Latvia, which imports power from Russia, according to Kreivys.
"The latest data show that 50 percent of all electricity (which amounts to 77 million kilowatt-hours) that comes via the Lithuania-Belarus cross-section is from Belarus, that is, from Astravyets, and the other 50 percent is from Russia," he said after a meeting of the parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defense (CNSD).
"Exactly the same amount of electricity is traded on the Latvian exchange. Physically, that electricity is flowing not to Latvia, but to Lithuania through our border. Since we have a huge deficit of electricity, we consume that electricity and pay for it," he added.
The 77 million kWh of electricity entered Lithuania during the last 10 days, when the Astravyets plant was operating stably, according to the minister.
"If converted into money, that makes almost 4 million euros and if the current situation continues, that will be 120 million euros per year. This amount will be paid for Astravyets' further construction, so it's important to prevent the second unit, and possibly in the future, the third unit of the Astravyets NPP from being financed," he said.
Laurynas Kasciunas, the CNSD chairman, said Belarusian electricity accounts for about 12 percent of Lithuania's total power consumption.
"Belarusian electricity currently makes up around 12 percent of Lithuania's total power consumption mix. That makes 11 million euros monthly. We can say that consumers are paying for the Astravyets plant," he said.
Vilnius is planning to put the data on the amount of Astravyets electricity entering Lithuania on the negotiating table with Riga and Tallinn as proof that a trilateral Baltic methodology for electricity trade with third-countries that was worked out last year but not yet approved by Lithuania is not good, according to Kreivys.
A 2018 methodology that Lithuania continues to apply would have barred access for Astravyets electricity to the region's market, he said.
Lithuania continues talks with Latvia and Estonia on the methodology and will present its position in the second half of February, according to the minister.
By late February, the Energy Ministry will put forward a plan of economic measures to be taken to stop Belarusian electricity from entering Lithuania, he said.