Lithuania – Sweden ‘Let’s get connected!’

February 8, 2008 at 5:15 pm 8 comments

Adamkus and OlofssonThe Swedish Vice-PM Mrs. Olofsson visited Lithuania on 5-6 February.  The visit has attracted a wide Lithuanian media attention.  The reason for this attention was that the visit took place in the heated debates on the energy issues background.  The Law of the establishment of the National Investor the LEO LT passed the parliament few days before, there is an intensive debate about prolonging of the Ignalina Power Plant life span and a debate what will happen when (if) the plant will terminate its electricity production at the end of 2009.  Only a thought that the Ignalina provides 75% of all electricity in Lithuania and that Lithuania still has no electrical connections to the West raises the temperature in Lithuanian political scene.  Not to mention that the elections to Seimas will take place in October.In addition another important event took only a day before the Vice-PM’s visit.  Lithuanian Lietuvos Energija and its Swedish counterpart, Svenska Kraftnat, completed a feasibility study on linking the energy systems of the two countries. The heads of the two companies signed in Stockholm a memorandum stating their intentions to continue cooperation on the project on February 5.

The Lietuvos Energija CEO Rymantas Juozaitis said in a statement: “We highly appreciate this effective and mutually beneficial cooperation between Lithuanian and Swedish energy experts. The goals set for the study have been fully achieved. We have agreed with Svenska Kraftnat to continue discussions on project implementation issues.”

He also stated that that both Lithuania and Sweden viewed the project as a good opportunity to connect their electricity markets and to create the conditions for the Baltic countries’ integration into the EU’s energy market. The BNS reminded that the power connection would also help deal with issues of system reliability, safe electricity supplies and diversification of energy sources.

The study evaluated the possibility of linking the electricity grids of the two countries via a 350-kilometer cable under the Baltic Sea. If it were decided to build wind turbines and hook them up to the underwater cable, it would require a capacity of 1,000 megawatts.

Lietuvos Energija reminded that a 1,000 MW power link would allow the two countries not only to link their energy systems, but also to develop renewable electricity generation. The results of the study showed that the power link project would be feasible and economically viable and that it could be implemented by 2015.

After Mrs. Olofsson’s meeting with the President the Palace press office issued a statement, which also said that “Amid the upcoming decommissioning of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, the project carries not only a commercial but also strategic importance to entire region and Lithuania.”

The energy link was discussed also in the meetings with the Lithuanian PM and the Minister of the Economy.

However, Mrs Olofsson had to explain the Lithuanian politicians that Stockholm perceives the construction of the electrical grid only as a commercial project.  During the press conference she had to remind the Lithuanian media that the Swedish Government cannot decide for the Svenska Kraftnat what to do, this is a project between Lietuvos Energija and the Svenska Kraftnat.

The Lithuanian side sees this project as a strategic necessity and received some news about the SwedLit with a dose of scepticism.  The crux of the matter is that the Lithuanian politicians wrongly convinced the Lithuanian media and the public that the SwedLit will be built by 2012.  This date is even written in the National Energy strategy.

However, the cautious Swedes informed that Lithuanian side that the date of the grid’s completion could be 2015.  The Lithuanian media, which likes to hear what it wants to hear, exclaimed that the SwedLit will be completed only by 2015.  However, it sounds that the Vice-PM meant 2015 is the latest date of completion.  However, the biggest question ‘IF’ is replaced by ‘WHEN’.

The Nord Stream was also discussed.  The President’s press office stated that “Lithuania is particularly alarmed over the impact of the Baltic pipeline to the ecology of the Baltic Sea, therefore, we cannot come up with argumentation why the Amber Pipe project was not planned via the Baltics of territories of other EU members.”Furthermore, the press office informed that Mrs. Olofsson underscored that all matters relating to the ecology of the Baltic Sea required professional analysis and assessment. In her words, Sweden and its companies are willing to share their technological experience in generating energy from renewable sources and reduction of climate pollution.

Hence, the Swedish-Lithuanian energy cooperation is getting a shape and is intensifying, better later that never.  ‘Let’s get connected!’

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Entry filed under: Baltic States, Economics, Energy, Estonia, EU, Latvia, Lithuania, Northern Europe, Politics, Scandinavia, Sweden, Uncategorized.

Lithuanian parlt gives blessing to construction of new power plant The Lithuanian President gives his blessing to the LEO LT. A busy week in the Lithuanian energy sector

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Pawel  |  February 10, 2008 at 1:50 am

    This is really out of topic:) But Lithuanian president is very unattractive, and I think someone should really tell him he should reinvent his image. People watch him on television on regular basis – and it would do him good. (Although he still looks much better then Kaczynskis)
    I saw him live in my home town some time ago, when my university decided to give him honorary degree (many of the professors come from Vilnius) – he looked even worse. I took part in a demonstration against our Polish president who accompanied his Lithuanian counterpart to the occasion.
    There are some politicians who don’t care at all, and there are those who learn. Leszek Balcerowicz is a good example. 20 years go he had the appearance of a sweaty Eastern European professor.

    Reply
  • 2. Ruslanas Iržikevičius  |  February 10, 2008 at 2:00 am

    Hi there,

    The President Adamkus is the most popular politician in the Lithuanian politics. Only last week the Commissioner Grybauskaite managed to get even with Mr Adamkus. He was elected the European of the Year 2007. Maybe images in Poland and in Lithuanian work differently 🙂

    He is a great man, a beam of a light in the Lithuanian politics. I am not saying that he is perfect, he makes a lot of mistakes, but he is the best what Lithuania has for the time being.

    Reply
  • 3. Pawel  |  February 10, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    I’m not saying he isn’t popular. I’m saying it would do him good to get a face-lift:)

    As to plebiscites: Putin was elected the man of the year 2007:) What are his political ideas? (since he is considered so good a politician)

    Reply
  • 4. Pawel  |  February 10, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    (I mean what are Adamus’s)

    Reply
  • 5. Ruslanas Iržikevičius  |  February 10, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    From what I understand the President Adamkus is not planning to run for the third term. I don’t think that he and his team are thinking about ‘re-branding’, since his image works here and in the EU capitals.

    On the other hand he is greatly disliked in the Kremlin.

    And for the Putin being Man of the Year, well, the Time also had Hitler and Stalin as the man of the year, but I wrote on it on my blog. The European Voice, I hope would not chose this type of the tyrants as the Europeans of the Year in the future.

    Reply
  • 6. Vince  |  February 11, 2008 at 2:06 am

    As I see and understand the energy status in Lithuania.

    We have this poisoned gift left by the Russian behind them: Ignalina.
    Why A gift? because it provided cheap electricity and Lithuania was independent regarding Electricity production. However, the bills always come. I suspect dismantling a nuclear power station is not a little budget.
    Why Poisoned? Ignalina, despite its “recent” upgrades, is old and need to be dismantled. Lithuania got used to be “all nuclear” but it can not afford to build a new one.
    Not to forget, Ignalina was part of the deal with the entry of Lithuania in Europe. For some obvious reasons, It has to be closed and Lithuania agreed. (even though it had no idea how to do without)
    I do hope that Lithuania won’t act like Russians: Making deals but never respecting them.

    The solution is not single, but plural:
    1- Go green. It would be very positive for the country image. Green means wind farms and other similar projects using the sea stream to produces electricity.
    It takes a decade to build a nuclear station. Building a windfarm takes a few months.

    2- Build a new reliable power grid and connect it to the European grid to be able to import electricity to cover what can not cover the energy produced locally.

    3- Keep a state control on energy. If one private company takes over everything, we are doomed. If many take over, somehow, one will buy them all after a few years and it will be the same.
    The state has more chance to keep price low as it is elected by the people. Private companies will think more about making profits.

    To the lobby that wishes this new nuclear power station to be built in Lithuania, I say back off with your megalomaniac dreams that Lithuania can definitely not afford.
    Green renewable energy is the way to go as it is adapted to the size, energetic needs of the country as well as the dead line imposed by the closure of Ignalina.

    Reply
  • 7. Mykloas  |  March 29, 2008 at 12:00 am

    I like Vince’s ideas about wind farms and at least some level of state control. I don’t live in Lithuania so forgive me if I’m not failiar with the ‘national consiousness’ but I wonder if Lithuanians would
    be willing to invest their own money in such a venture, I’m also not sure of exactly how many Lithuanians have ‘expedable income’, but it seems to me since my recent visit that there is an awful lot of money being spent on very nice homes. Newly constructed, This America is somwhat jealous! (God Bless those who are able to improve their lives…as long as it is done honestly!}

    So, What is your opinion Ruslanas?

    Reply
  • 8. Ruslanas Iržikevičius  |  March 30, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    I agree that we should rely on the renewable energy more. Nevertheless, there are few ‘but’:

    1. There is not enough of the political will
    2. Technologically it is rather expensive, and it is a long-term investment. Many in Lithuania want to have it now and here!
    3. Some energy specialist convinced that we cannot rely just on the renewable energy sources since they are not reliable. What if the wind will stop blowing, or we will have two months of cloudiness (which is common in the Baltics), etc.
    4. Lithuanians decided to employ ‘wait and see’ positions regarding the renewable energy. ‘We are not rich enough to invest into R&D, hence lets leave it to our Nordic neighbors to develop the technologies. It seems that it almost works, since during the last visit Ms Olovsson has suggested the Lithuanians ‘help’ in this area.
    5. Lithuanian society still largely believes in ‘one pill will cure me’ option. Therefore, a new Ignalina would serve this believe. Also, the coming Parliamentary elections should be taken into consideration when talking about the energy.
    6. The environmental awareness is very low here.

    Best regards!

    Reply

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