The Latvian government has decided to purchase electricity that will be produced at the Belarusian NPP, the Baltic News Agency BNS reported on 14 August. Latvia will buy the energy after Lithuania had refused to do so.
At present, electricity trade between the Baltic States and third countries is confined to the Lithuanian-Belarusian border.
The Cabinet of Ministers of Latvia supported the offer of the Ministry of Economics about the transfer of electricity trade to the Latvian border, says the governmental press release. The decision was made to mitigate the risks that may arise when Latvia’s neighbor Lithuania would suspend electricity trade with Belarus.
“This … will ensure that trade conditions with third countries remain at the same level as before. Latvia has consulted with Lithuania, Estonia and the European Commission,” the Latvian side commented.
The Lithuanian side was disappointed by the decision.
At present all electricity flows from Belarus to the EU is done via Lithuania.
Export potential at 2 billion kWh per year
In January-May 2019, Belarus exported over 755 million kWh of energy to neighboring states, earning over $39 million. At a May press conference at the Belarusian nuclear power plant in Ostrovets (Astravets), Deputy Energy Minister Mikhail Mikhadyuk informed that Belarus’ export potential generated at its own capacities exceeds 2 billion kWh per year.
The Belarusian nuclear power plant is under construction in the Grodno region. For that, Belarus had borrowed $10 billion from Russia until 2035. The delivery of fuel for the plant is scheduled on 1 October 2019. The launch of the first power unit of Belarusian NPP should take place this fall.
Lithuania is the most active critic of the construction claiming the station’s incompliance with safety requirements and environmental standards. Belarus rejects these claims.