The actual data shows that at the beginning of this year, with the start of the commercial operation of the Belarusian nuclear power plant, the physical flow of electricity produced in Belarus increased significantly. At the same time, more than three times increased trade on the Latvian-Russian border confirms that electricity produced in an unsafe power plant finds the way to enter the Lithuanian market as well as the EU market.
According to the Chair of the National Energy Regulatory Council (NERC) Renatas Pocius, the fact that Belarus already produces more electricity than consumes directly determines that despite the political agreement of the three Baltic countries not to purchase electricity produced by the Belarusian NPP, the current methodology for determining capacity for trade with Russia increases not only physical flows between Belarus and Lithuania but also commercial capacity with Russia.
"Last year, in October, the modelling conducted by the NERC showed that the methodology project was not sufficient. For this reason, we refused to approve it. The actual data shows that there is a direct link between the balance of the Belarusian system and the energy traded in the Latvian market from Russia. In other words, when the Belarusian system is surplus and the country exports energy, the import into the Baltic countries from third countries is increasing. The electricity entering the EU market through the Latvian trading site flows through the Lithuanian-Belarusian interconnections. All three Baltic countries have to return to a common methodology, responding adequately to changed circumstances and the actual data of the transmission system," says Renatas Pocius, the Chair of the NERC.
According to the information constantly monitored by Litgrid, the pilot commercial operation of the Belarusian NPP started this year in January, i.e. Belarus produces more electricity than it consumes and exports the surplus.
According to the Director of the System Management Department at Litgrid Giedrius Radvila, the data shows that the average amount of electricity imported from Belarus and continental Russia amounted to 180 MWh per hour in almost all previous years before the start of the operation of the nuclear power plant.
This year, in January, the trade, which moved to the Latvian-Russian section, reached 636 MWh, in other words, increased three and a half times. Over the same period, capacity utilisation for trade has quadrupled from 20% to almost 80%.
"Assuming that this trend will continue in the future, electricity import into the Baltic countries from continental Russia can reach 7.1 TWh, i.e. four times more than last year. According to the information from January flows, a large part of this energy will flow through the Lithuanian-Belarusian interconnections from the surplus energy system of Belarus, where the Belarusian NPP will operate," says Giedrius Radvila.
Considering the actual situation, according to Renatas Pocius, a common denominator, i.e. a common methodology of trade between Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia with third countries, is necessary. It has not yet been approved, though, regarding the factual data, negotiations with partners in the Baltic countries will continue, preventing the entry of Belarusian electricity into the EU internal electricity market.
"We propose to our partners to set the capacities in such a way that the infrastructure of the Lithuanian-Belarusian interconnections is not valued for increasing trade volumes with Russia and would effectively limit the flow of electricity from Belarus through the interconnections. It is also necessary to develop a reliable system of guarantees of origin for electricity, which, together with the tripartite methodology, would function as a whole package in order to effectively prevent the entry of Belarusian electricity into the EU internal electricity market," says the Chair of the NERC.
NERC presentation (here)
LITGRID presentation (here)