Lithuania responded to the launch of BelNPP with a boycott of Belarusian electricity
One important event remained unnoticed behind the massive protests in Belarus. The first power unit of the BelNPP was put into operation, the nuclear power plant was included in the unified energy system of the republic. Paradoxically, this economically positive news will have a lot of negative consequences for Belarus itself, Russia and the neighboring Baltic states.
The BelNPP is being built on a Russian loan with the help of specialists from Rosatom. The total capacity of its two power units is 2400 MW. The second power unit is to be launched next year. The main problem of the nuclear power plant is that it is being built just 50 kilometers from Vilnius. The authorities of neighboring Lithuania refuse to believe in the safety of the nuclear power plant, pointing to the sad experience of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the Japanese "Fukushima". Despite the positive expert opinions of the IAEA, Vilnius actually declared a "crusade" against the Belarusian NPP. Lithuania responded to the launch of the Minsk power plant by banning the purchase of any electricity from Belarus, since it is impossible to determine in the system whether it is of gas or nuclear origin. This is a rather unpleasant blow for President Lukashenko, since Belarus earned good money on exporting electricity and had Napoleonic plans to increase its volumes to the Baltic states and neighboring countries of Eastern Europe.
Apparently, now these grandiose projects are destined to be covered with a copper basin. In the medium term, much will depend on the position of Riga and Tallinn. So far, they have not introduced a ban on the import of Belarusian electricity and can start buying it through Russia, and then resell it to Lithuania. If this is the case, at this stage both they and our country will even be able to earn some extra money. Unfortunately, all these cunning schemes have their own deadlines. Recall that by 2025 the Baltics should leave the single energy ring BRELL with Russia and Belarus. This is not an easy, expensive and slow business, but the former Soviet republics have consistently followed this path, urged on by senior European partners. The result will be extremely disadvantageous for all current BRELL members.
At first, after joining the common European energy system, the Baltic countries will receive a higher cost per kilowatt, which will negatively affect their economic development. In the black will be neighboring Scandinavia, where electricity is already being purchased, and Poland, which has long been nurturing plans to build its own nuclear power plant. If this project is implemented, Warsaw will make a bridge with the Baltic states and enter its energy market, displacing Russia and Belarus from there.
Secondly, the launch of the BelNPP in this situation will have other negative consequences for our economics... Minsk will receive a surplus of inexpensive electricity, which it simply has nowhere to go. Nuclear energy will begin to displace gas generation, which will lead to the loss of a significant part of the Belarusian market by Gazprom, and President Lukashenko will receive an additional argument in negotiations on the price of a cubic meter with Moscow.
Perhaps, instead of the BelNPP, it was worth building the Baltic NPP in the Kaliningrad region for the funds of the Russian state budget, ensuring the energy independence of this territorial exclave. There would obviously be more benefits and fewer problems.
- Author: Sergey Marzhetsky