Estonian officials believe desynchronizing from the Soviet-era BRELL electricity grid, which connects the Baltics to Russia and Belarus, before the agreed 2025 deadline carries extra risks. Lithuania is looking to speed up the process.
Rokas Masiulis, CEO of the Lithuanian system operator Litgrid, said the country wants to synchronize with the continental European electricity grid as fast as possible and is aiming for 2024, rather than the currently agreed 2025.
"Seeing what's happening in Ukraine, nobody in Lithuania wants to be part of the Russian electricity grid anymore. Even if it brings benefits, it is not something that we want to continue with," Masiulis told Monday's "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK).
The plans have already been brought forward from the original 2026 deadline to 2025, Minister of Climate Kristen Michal (Reform) said. He said Lithuania's decision is political.
"There is no doubt that we in Estonia, in Latvia, everywhere else, do not consider Russia a reasonable partner. But the questions of the electricity system, or frequency, are perhaps not so much a question of political stance, but of what our power lines are like. And there are various studies that show that in order to guarantee uninterrupted electricity in Estonia, we need to have connections with Latvia and we also need to have the equipment to keep this frequency on the grid," he told AK.
Kalle Kilk, chairman of the board of electricity transition systems operator Elering, said Estonia's supply is still not sufficiently secure as construction work with Latvia is ongoing.
But Masiulis disagrees and said the Estonian electricity grid is actually stronger than Lithuania's and can be disconnected already.
"Poland's Gdansk Institute, which is independent, made a study that shows there would be no blackouts in Estonia. So the system is safe. So that's why we thought after the Polish study, we would come to the [same] conclusions, but Elering stayed on the same position, saying that nothing will change," said Masiulis.
Kilk said, to avoid risks, it is not sensible to bring the desynchronization deadline forward again.
"Looking at it from a distance, yes, maybe it seems the grass is greener and everything is prettier in your neighbor's garden. Our own assessment is that actually, the Estonian network will only be sufficiently secure when we make the necessary investments. We are not prepared today to take on the additional risk, which is undoubtedly an additional risk," he said.
On Monday, Masiulis told Lithuania's public broadcaster LRT that desynchronization can only go ahead if all three countries agree.
Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright
Source: Aktuaalne kaamera