Baltics test electrical independence

  • 2002-04-11
  • Wire reports

The Baltic countries on April 5 declared another form of independence from Moscow. For two hours the three countries' electrical grids were disconnected from Russia's to test their ability to function on their own.

The test also included the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad and a section of northern Belarus.

Lembit Vali, a member of the board of Estonia's electricity provider Eesti Energia, said the need for the Baltic grids to separate from Russia could happen any time there were any major technical problems.

The test took place from 10:35 a.m. to 12:43 p.m. and the Baltic systems fared well, according to electricity company officials. During the period power grids in all three countries dropped only fractionally.

But while electricity officials lauded their systems they were quick to point out that long-term separation from Russian generators would be costly.

Long-term use would require more reserve capacity, Vali said, which would require sizable investments and would increase electricity rates at least 15 percent..

The results of the tests will be analyzed to determine the feasibility of linking to the European power grid in the future.