Lithuania's LEO roars ahead

21 May 2008

The Lithuanian Electricity Organization (LEO LT), a holding company set up to invest in Lithuania's next nuclear power plant and international energy infrastructure, has formally begun operations. 


LEO LT brings together the state-owned energy and grid companies Lietuvos Energija and RST and the privately-owned NDX Energija, owner of grid company VST AB. Agreements establishing LEO LT were signed by the government of Lithuania and NDX Energija on 29 April, and the company is now reported to have started operations. The Lithuanian government holds 61.7% of the new company, with NDX holding 38.3%.


Rymantas Juozaitis, the current director general of Lietuvos, has been appointed chairman of the board and CEO of LEO LT. He described the new company's goal as being to "ensure a reliable and secure electricity supply in Lithuania at cost-based and affordable prices."


Lihtuania currently generates some 70% of its electricity from the Ignalina nuclear power plant, but is required to close down the two Soviet-designed RBMK reactors as a condition of its accession to the European Union. The first unit closed down in December 2004, and the second is due to close at the end of 2009. In February 2007, Lativa, Lithuania and Estonia joined with Poland to agree to build a new nuclear reactor at Ignalina, initially with 3200 MWe capacity (two 1600 MWe units), aiming to have at least one unit operating by 2015. Earlier this year, Lietuvos awarded a contract to carry out an environmental impact assessment on the proposed plant to a Finnish and Lithuanian consortium.


In addition to the new nuclear plant, LEO LT will also take on the project of building new energy bridges to link Lithuania's grid with those of Sweden and Poland, needed to enable the output from the new plant to be exported.