Talks with Latvians, Estonians on Astravyets power will need effort - Lithuanian vice minister

  • 2021-03-17
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - Lithuania is not dropping its ambitious plans to reach agreement with Latvia and Estonia by the end of June on boycotting power produced by the Astravyets nuclear power plant in Belarus, but the negotiations will demand major effort, a Lithuanian energy vice minister says.

Having attended the first Baltic-EC meeting under the BEMIP (Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan) format, Albinas Zananavicius says the Baltic transmission system operators will still have to discuss Lithuania's information on the sale of Belarusian electricity. The next BEMIP meting is scheduled for March 30.

"The first meting did not cause too much optimism for me. Naturally, I do expect that that we will find a common understanding with the Latvians and Estonians. Everything is going according to the plan yet. Naturally, we do not see any major enthusiasm from the Latvian and Estonian side, but that's what negotiations are meant for. To stimulate that interest," Zananavicius told journalists on Wednesday.

In his words, naturally, the Latvians have doubt yet on the information provided by Lithuania and allegedly showing that Belarusian electricity is entering the Baltic market.

"Obviously, there are problems in fully acknowledging that information we provided without any comments, and, with no doubt, when the operators meet, they will have access to a bigger amount of information. Naturally, skepticism during technical discussions is a common thing as different experts have different opinions," the vice minister said. "Our goal is not to get dragged into discussions on statistics. We have other questions as well we need to resolve during these negotiations. We have not heard yet any response that we wont' negotiate."

According to Zananavicius, on Wednesday, the countries discussed the trilateral methodology on the trade in power with third countries, the creation of an estimated situation in the regional market for the implementation of local productions plans and the Green Deal, as well as the ongoing synchronization of the Baltic grids with that of continental Europe.

The vice minister also said he presented Lithuania's negotiating position to the European Commission: "There was common agreement on practically all issues that it's a way to again ensure stability in the region".

It was agreed during the BEMIP meeting that the Baltic transmission system operators would negotiate changes to the trilateral methodology on power trade with third countries. The taxation of the Baltic countries' infrastructure was also discussed during the meting, and the issue would be further discussed by the Baltic TSOs.

Lithuanian Energy Minister Dainius Kreivys says the new methodology's key principle is to not to trade in the physical power flow crossing the Lithuanian-Belarusian border, but to trade only in the electricity going via the Latvian and Estonian connections with Russia.

Citing data from Lithuania's TSO Litgrid, Kreivys said earlier Lithuania is now buying Astravyet's power via Latvia and will pay around 120 million euros a year for it, if power trade between Russia and Latvia continues at the existing.

Vilnius says the methodology that was drafted by the three Baltic countries last year and unilaterally approved by Latvia and Estonia fails to bar market access for Belarusian electricity.

Therefore, Lithuania refused to endorse it and proposes a new methodology that it says is acceptable to all three countries.