Import agreement: Baltic to Lithuania

08 March 2011

An ealier version of this item was published without the context given by the status of the grid connection between Kaliningrad and Lithuania. 


A deal has been struck with the intention of exporting large volumes of power from the Baltic nuclear power plant to Lithuania, although the scope of imports is controlled by the country's government. 


Russia's state nuclear group Rosatom is currently preparing ground for the Baltic nuclear power plant in the country's exclave of Kaliningrad, which sits between Poland and Lithuania. Rosatom's 57%-owned utility Inter RAO UES is responsible for finding investors for 49% of the plant, as well as for selling the 2400 MWe it should produce.


In a circular deal, "up to 1000 MWe" of this output is earmarked to travel across the border for sale by Inter RAO Lietuvos of Lithuania, which is 51% owned by RAO Nordic Oy, a Finnish subsidiary of Inter RAO UES. The export is slated to begin in 2017, with the firms citing the possibility of an increase in 2019 should this be considered technically and economically feasible.


Those starting dates are each about six months after the scheduled start ups of the Baltic nuclear power plant's VVER-1200 pressurized water reactors, for which site preparations are well advanced in the Neman region bordering Lithuania. First concrete for unit 1 is expected in April.


Approval required 


Despite the apparent ambition to supply in excess of 1000 MWe directly from the Baltic plant to Lithuania, the grid connection to be used has a capacity of only 750 MWe. Increasing this would require the approval of the Lithuanian government, which of course is unlikely given its efforts to develop a replacement for the 1720 MWe Ignalina nuclear power plant, which was shut down early as a condition of EU entry.


A competitive tender for the new plant was run in 2010 but failed when one bidder did not comply with requirements and the other, from a Kepco-led consortium, was withdrawn just two weeks later. In recent years, neighbours Latvia, Estonia and Poland have been supporters of the plan for a large new nuclear power plant to support power supplies in the region and an array of grid connection projects are underway.


Inter RAO Lietuvos chair Jonas Garbaravičius said the power import deal "will not be an obstacle to the emergence of the Ignalina [replacement] nuclear power plant or other energy plans" but rather would help primary energy security and keep prices down for consumers.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News