The redcoats are comingÉmaybe

  • 1999-03-18
  • Peter J. Mladineo
VILNIUS - PowerBridge is out, nobody's in yet - but at least there's a contender.

The PowerBridge Group, a consortium that was negotiating with the government on building a power grid linking Lithuania with Western Europe, has broken up.

A special government commission met with PowerBridge representatives March 9 and acknowledged that the consortium had broken up and they no longer have a person authorized to negotiate with the Lithuanian government.

"What is left of the consortium is groups competing against each other and no longer able to do anything," the Baltic News Service quoted government official Kestutis Cilinskas as saying.

PowerBridge failed to nail down an investor for the project and establish a project company by the March 10 deadline.

But the government is wasting no time in finding a new partner to help develop a new project integrating Lithuanian electricity to Central and Western Europe.

Last week, it received a representative from Britain's National Power. However, this doesn't mean that the British concern has secured the job, says Jonas Kazlauskas, director of the energy development department in the Ministry of Economy.

"At this time there is no decision," Kazlauskas said. "They were here only for a fairly short time and we were speaking in general terms."

The government, he reports, wants to hold discussions with several companies before making its decision on a new strategic investor. He added that representatives from National Power were asked to visit Lithuania later for a more detailed discussion of the project.

National Power proposed to work out a new project to integrate Lithuanian power grid into the Western system.

The project could connect Lithuania with Poland and Germany and would rely on the hydro power station in Kruonis instead of Ignalina's nuclear energy.

The next step, though, is the creation of a government commission to evaluate any prospective strategic partners, and then a tender will be prepared. Kazlauskas said that the conditions of the tender, and any timetables regarding a final decision by the government, have yet to be determined.

This is not to say there's no urgency in the government's stance. "We will do it as soon as possible," said Kazlauskas.