Brian Kelly

Lithuania to quit Russia-Baltic electricity power-share pact?

Dainius Kreivys @DainiusKreivys
Lithuania takes a giant step towards energy independence. TSO Litgrid completed the Isolated Operation Test of the Lithuanian Electricity System. For the first timethe Lithuanian electricity transmission system was disconnected from the IPS/UPS system controlled by Russia.

Lithuania is to decide if it should pull out of the power grid pact it, along with Estonia, Latvia, Russia and Belarus have been party to going back to Soviet times. A final decision is to be made by 6 August, once studies about the potential impact have been reviewed, the nation’s energy minister announced in Vilnius on Monday.

NATO and EU members Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are part of the Soviet-era BRELL power grid circuit, which they share with Russia and Belarus. As such, they rely on Russian operators to control frequencies and balance grid. In 2018, all three Baltic countries agreed they would delink from the BRELL circuit and hook up with Europe’s continental power grid by 2025.

However, now Lithuania wants to leave in the first part of 2024, whereas Latvia and Estonia have yet to agree.

Energy Minister Dainius Kreivys said Lithuania will not make its decision to withdraw until it has reviewed the findings of three studies that are looking into just how ready the Baltic power grids are to sever the

BRELL connection by the earlier date.

The studies being conducted by the Baltic States’ power grid operators and by Poland’s Institute of Power Engineering should be completed by late May, according to Litgrid, the Lithuanian state power grid operator.

Minister Kreivys has said the outcome could well persuade the other Baltic states to agree to endorsing a decision for an earlier move to sever the Russian connection. He noted that the studies were being carried out at the behest of both Estonia and Latvia. “We have agreed that if the results are positive, we can decouple earlier”, the minister declared. Lithuania, he added, was confident that this would turn out to be the case.

Some weeks ago, Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kalas indicated that her country could support the earlier move, provided it was convinced that the Baltic grid is fully ready to work on its own.

Last year, European grid operators reportedly reassured the Baltic states that they were ready and capable of bringing the Baltic states on board the EU system right away in the event that Moscow moved to cut them off.

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