The Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant cranked up output by almost a third in the first quarterof this year, allowing Lietuvos Energija, operator of the state-owned grid, to boost electricity exports by a whopping 30.4 percent year-on-year.
INPP produced a total of 4.98 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity during the first quarter of 2003, a 28 percent increase from the same period of 2002.
In March, the plant boosted its electricity output by 23.3 percent, year-on-year, according to Ina Didziulyte, an INPP spokeswoman.
The surge in output at the nuclear plant helped Lietuvos Energija to export 3 billion kW-hours of electricity in the first quarter, while March transmissions grew 18.8 percent alone, the company reported on April 4.
According to the official company statement, Lietuvos Energija exported 1.7 billion kW of electricity to Belarus, 831.4 million kW to Kaliningrad Oblast and 304.2 million kW to Latvia.
Exports to Poland and Estonia reached 140.7 million kW and 16.7 million kW respectively.
The export target for April has been set at about 449 million kW-hours of electricity, up 38.7 percent year-on-year.
Rymantas Juozaitis, managing director of Lietuvos Energija, said demand for electricity is lower in the spring, but long-term agreements enable the company to ensure stable power exports prior to the closure of the first unit of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant.
Lietuvos Energija has signed an agreement with Inter UES, a subsidiary of the Russian concern UES, guaranteeing payments for sales of electricity to the problematic Belarusian market.
In 2002, Lietuvos Energija posted total revenues of 1 billion litas (289.85 million euros), with export revenues amounting to 307 million litas.
The company earned an audited net profit of 95.3 million litas. In their meeting on April 29, the shareholders of Lietuvos Energija will be asked to vote on paying a dividend of 0.055 litas per share with 38.1 million litas earmarked in total for dividends.
Last year, the energy company paid a dividend of 0.0547 litas per share.
Currently, INPP's annual output is projected to reach 14.4 billion kW-hours of electricity this year.
Lithuania is committed to decommissioning Ignalina's Unit 1 by the end of 2004 and to shutting down Unit 2 by 2009.
Estonian officials, meanwhile, have recently expressed an interest in helping finance the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Lithuania in order to reduce the country's dependency on environmentally harmful oil shale.