The Belarus Deputy Energy Minister, Mikhail Mikhadyuk, said on 3 September that Belarus will have foreign markets for electricity produced by its nuclear power plant under construction in Ostravets, even after the Baltic states announced plans to boycott the energy if the power plant becomes operational, according to Belarusian state news agency BelTA reports.
Trade in electricity between the Baltic states and Belarus will stop after the launch of the Belarus NPP later this year and a system of certificates showing the origin of electricity will be introduced, Estonia’s ERR News reported.
Electricity from the nuclear power plant would otherwise reach Baltic markets through Latvia which buys electricity through the Russian grid. Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have established a single tariff for infrastructure use. The tariff will be implemented as soon as the required legislation has been adopted in Latvia and Lithuania at the end of the first quarter of 2021. Estonian laws are already in place.
The agreement is expected to halve electricity trading between the Baltic States and third countries. ERR News said Electricity trade will be directed to the Russia-Latvia cross-section in reduced quantities, using capacities "left over from" internal trade in the Baltic States, according to the statement. Electricity trade between Kaliningrad and Lithuania will continue in the current volumes. This agreement will remain in force until the synchronisation of the Baltic electricity systems with Continental Europe in late 2025.
Estonia’s Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure, Taavi Aas, said the agreement would “improve the market position and prospects of our electricity producers”. Undersecretary of Energy at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications Timo Tatar said: “Equal treatment of market participants, sufficiently hedged risks related to security of supply and improving investment security in the Baltic electricity market are important to us."
Lithuania has continuously objected to the construction of the Belarus NPP citing both safety and environmental concerns and recently imposed on Belarus officials in the wake of political protests in Minsk.
In an interview to the Respublika newspaper, Mikhadyuk , said he expected the Belarus NPP to begin producing electricity in November.
The Belarus NPP comprises two VVER-1200 reactors, being built with Russian assistance. Unit 1 is scheduled for commissioning later this year, followed by unit 2 in 2021. ASE, the engineering division of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, is the general designer and main contractor for the project.