About Astravyets energy to those who want to hear

Astravyets NPP
DELFI / Domantas Pipas

If there are any questions – they need answers, if there is any uncertainty – it needs explanation. Therefore, these answers are for those who still have doubts and reservations, whether Lithuania will buy electricity from Astravyets nuclear power plant (NPP), which threatens nationality security.

First. Not a single kilowatt-hour of electricity generated in Astravyets NPP can be sold in Lithuania for commercial purposes, as the law prohibits it. It is put down in black and white in the law, which was adopted by the Seimas in spring 2017.

Second. All imported electricity must be sold in Lithuania exclusively through the electricity exchange. Information in the exchange system is public and shows who and how much electricity buys. No matter, who you are – either producer or intermediate, the same rules apply to everyone. Electricity from third countries, in which unsafe nuclear power plants operate, cannot be traded on the exchange. And there are simply no other ways to acquire it.

The Seimas recognised Astravyets NPP as unsafe and threatening national security, environment and public health. Therefore, well before Astravyets NPP is launched, specific instruments preventing entry of electricity from Belarus into the Lithuanian market will be developed. They will include administrative and regulatory measures. It is stipulated also in the anti-Astravyets plan of necessary measures.

Therefore, we can only speculate why knowing that legal acts clearly defining it are in place, opposite misleading interpretations are made.

Third. Such actions of Lithuania mean immense financial loss for Belarus. If we presume that Belarus would not be able to export all electricity generated in one block (and it really hoped to have such possibility), according to the present electricity prices on the market, it means a loss of up to Euro 0.5 billion per year.

Fourth. According to the effective agreements between the Baltic transmission system operators, electricity can be traded in third countries exclusively through Lithuania. It is the only gate for electricity from Belarus to enter directly (!) the EU market and it will be closed for unsafe electricity.

Fifth. Estonia successfully has stopped buying Russian electricity since 2003. Why does someone have doubts that Lithuania cannot do the same with electricity from third countries?

Sixth. Entry of electricity from third countries into Lithuania will be limited to the extent it can enter through ring flows and it is needed for assurance of electricity supply safety until synchronisation with Europe. In simple words, what does it mean? The entire electricity system of Lithuania (an EU Member State for 14 years) is a part of the Russian system IPS/UPS or also called BRELL ring since 1945 (!). It is called BRELL because three Baltic States, Russia and Belarus belong to this ring. Electricity generated in these countries, in plain language, flow into one pot and move along the BRELL ring to all the countries.

For electricity not to switch off in Lithuania (so-called ‘black out’ in energy specialists’ jargon), we have to secure so-called system services from the BRELL ring for electricity supply safety to be guaranteed. For this purpose only, electricity from Belarus will get into our system until we leave the Russian IPS/UPS system.

Thus, system services and trade in electricity are two absolutely different issues. While some try to link these two absolutely different issues together. And for a reason, because it creates space for politically resonant discussions, which, I am sure, will be used not for our ‘divide-and-rule’ policy.

Seventh. We said very clearly exactly one year ago, that if Astravyets NPP representing threat to the national security of Lithuania would be launched, from the very beginning of its operation electricity from Belarus could not enter the Lithuanian electricity market. Nobody will be separating electrons; simply all electricity will not enter our market.

But it was also said that until the Lithuanian system is joined with the European networks, technical measures compatible with reliable operation of the Lithuanian electricity system will have to be applied. And it is absolutely irresponsible to speak otherwise. But those who are speaking realise that perfectly.

Eighth. To prevent entry of any electricity from third countries into our system, the synchronisation project must be implemented – Baltic States must leave the BRELL ring and join the European ring. It is planned to be completed by 2025. If work has been actually done for this purpose for at least a decade (when the Baltic States agreed in principle on the necessity to leave the Russian system) instead of the last year and a half, it would be absolutely irrelevant for us to discuss today what we should do to protect ourselves against Astravyets electricity.

Ninth. What do the suggestions that not a single electron from Astravyets NPP should enter our system mean? It means, that the lines with third countries should be cut off not only by Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, but also by Finland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania. Do you understand what you are talking about?

Tenth. For further readings, I put a link to the other text, where a couple of months ago we spoke about some interpretations continuously appearing in public space. I believe the emphases are clearly placed there as well.

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