aA
With Lithuania taking steps to block electricity imports from Belarus' Astravyets nuclear power facility, Energy Minister Zygimantas Vaiciunas is convinced that Russia and Belarus will make special efforts to circumvent these barriers to export the plant's electricity to the Baltic countries.
Lithuanian minister: Russia, Belarus to make efforts to sell nuclear power to Baltics
© DELFI / Domantas Pipas

"We have a law that bans purchases from the moment the Astravyets nuclear power plant is launched, if it is launched. Under the current regulatory regime, the Baltic countries may purchase electricity from Belarus only via Lithuania. That are no legal and regulatory instruments on the Estonian and Latvian borders to make that trade possible," Vaiciunas said on Ziniu Radijas on Tuesday.

However, the regime may be changed, the minister said.

"These things may change and I've no doubt that huge, desperate efforts will be made in search of possibilities for electricity to get access through Latvia and Estonia. Naturally, this will be done, but we'll see what decisions will be made," he said.

Latvia's Economy Ministry told BNS Lithuania earlier that all three Baltic states can technically import power from third countries, including Belarus and Russia, but Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia's trade agreements allow trading only via Lithuania.

"Currently, after cross-border electricity transmission links were built in the Baltic states, and the Baltic states joined the Nord Pool energy exchange market, the transmission system operators of the Baltic states in 2013 made an agreement to arrange their electricity trade flows with third countries through the borders of Lithuania-Belarus and Lithuania-Russia to ensure as effective functioning of the market as possible," the Latvian ministry said.

According to Vaiciunas, Belarus risks losing large sums of money after putting its first nuclear power plant on stream.

"With the Astravyets nuclear power plant offline, Belarus receives about 1 million euros in revenue from electricity trade daily. Naturally, once the Astravyets nuclear power plant has been launched, that trade flow will automatically stop and Belarus will lose the revenue," he said.

Vaiciunas did not rule out that Russia might put pressure on Vilnius regarding Astravyets electricity purchases as Lithuania will synchronize its grid with Europe and disconnect from the post-Soviet BRELL ring.

The minister added, however, that it would be irresponsible to speak about cutting off transmission lines with Belarus now.

"Infrastructure projects are underway to connect us with Europe to allow us to disconnect from Russia and Belarus. Disconnecting the lines (with Belarus) right away is not a responsible approach, because that would undermine our security and is not allowed under the same 'anti-Astravyets' law, which says clearly that we can't disconnect more lines than it is safe for us," he said.

According to the minister, Lithuania is taking additional measures to prepare for all possible blackmail scenarios.

It was reported on Monday that Belarus had pushed back the date of the launch of the Astravyets plant's first reactor until next fall. Minsk said earlier the first reactor would be switched on in May or June 2019.

Back in June 2017, the Seimas passed a law declaring the Astravyets plant a threat to national security, environment and public health. The government later approved an action plan for blocking electricity imports from the plant.

BNS
It is prohibited to copy and republish the text of this publication without a written permission from UAB „BNS“.

Central bank taking steps to prevent heating up of real estate market

The Lithuanian central bank proposes to tighten the down payment requirement for the second and...

Utenos Trikotažas to manufacture €3 million worth of knitwear for Lithuania’s armed forces

Utenos Trikotažas, part of the SBA group, and the Defence Materiel Agency under the Ministry of...

OECD: Lithuania must do better on transport, agriculture and emissions reductions

Lithuania has significantly boosted its use of renewable energy and waste recycling but needs to do...

Wizz Air set to relaunch Vilnius-Paris flights

Hungary's low-cost airline Wizz Air is relaunching flights between Vilnius and Paris as of September 30.

UK's Zaha Hadid Architects present best Vilnius Connect idea

Green Connect, an architectural project by British company Zaha Hadid Architects, has been deemed the...

Top news

Lithuania plans to make facemasks mandatory indoors again

The Lithuanian government is planning to bring back the requirement to wear masks in indoor public...

Central bank taking steps to prevent heating up of real estate market

The Lithuanian central bank proposes to tighten the down payment requirement for the second and...

1 225 new COVID-19 cases

On Monday, 1 225 new COVID-19 cases were recorded in Lithuania. Since the beginning of the pandemic,...

Eight out of 21 illegal migrants who fled camp found (1)

Eight out of the 21 illegal migrants who went missing from a camp in Rukla in Lithuania's central...

4 out of 10 people would get booster shots against coronavirus

Some 42.4 percent of adults in Lithuania would get booster shots against the coronavirus, which is...