Lithuania mulls Western power grid sync without Latvia, Estonia

With the three Baltic countries failing to reach an agreement, Lithuania is giving consideration to carrying out a key strategic energy project for synchronizing its power grid with the Western European system without Latvia and Estonia.

Visiting Warsaw last week, Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said unexpectedly that an agreement would be signed with Poland shortly.

Virgilijus Poderys, chairman of the Seimas' Energy Commission, also says that Lithuania should get ready for "Plan B."

"Given how events are unfolding, it's time for Lithuania to prepare itself for Plan B, that is, to synchronize with the continental European network on its own, without tying itself to Latvian and Estonian energy plans," Poderys said.

Politicians say that Russia is already making preparations for disconnecting the Baltic grids from the Soviet-era BRELL ring, which also includes Belarus, and might demand a lot of money for not doing so.

According to information from the European Network of Transmission System Operators (ENTSO-E), Russia is building a new line at its border with Estonia, thus reinforcing its domestic lines, and a line at its border with Belarus, which, in turn, will build lines from the Astravyets nuclear power plant. A new electricity ring is thus being formed. Russia is also taking steps to ensure independence of the electricity system of its Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad by building new combined and heat power plants.

Lithuania's power transmission system operator Litgrid would not comment on the idea of Lithuania synchronizing its grid with Poland without the other two Baltic countries.

Rimvydas Stilinis, chairman of the company's management board, said that such an idea has not been analyzed yet, adding that if a political decision is made, the operator will look into whether this is technically possible.

If Lithuania decided to carry out the project on its own, it would have to build converters at its border with Latvia to connect the power systems that would then operate in different synchronous modes.

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