Officials have stated that Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are planning to separate their power grids from the Russian system by February 2025. This move is aimed at reducing their energy dependence on Russia and enhancing their energy security.
Lithuania’s Energy Ministry said in a Wednesday statement that the three countries’ grid operators signed an agreement calling for the move.
What is the plan to decouple Baltic power grids from Russia?
The three countries agreed to upgrade their infrastructure and disconnect from the Russian grid in a 2018 deal with support from Poland and the European Commission.
The deal entails €1.6 billion ($1.61 billion) in EU funding.
The three former Soviet republics have stopped importing electricity from Russia, but are still part of a common synchronized electricity grid with Russia and Belarus, known as the “BRELL” ring system.
Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas told the Reuters news agency that the decoupling will be announced by a formal application to the Baltic, Russian and Belarusian joint grid operators in August 2024.
Lithuania lobbies for earlier timeline
Lithuania has argued for a sooner cutoff early in 2024, arguing that Russia is unreliable and citing its invasion of Ukraine.
Estonia’s prime minister said in comments to Reuters that Tallin would have most to lose from an earlier exit from the Russian grid.
“I understand that Lithuania wants to have it faster, but the question is that … Estonia would pay the highest price for this in terms of the [cost], but also in terms of risks of blackouts,” said Kallas.
“As a compromise, we’re agreeing to bring this deadline a year closer. So, leaving in the beginning of 2025,” she said.
Lithuanian power grid operator Litgrid said it would lobby Estonia and Latvia to agree to earlier implementation of the measure.
“We are dependent on Estonia, so if they don’t change their mind, sadly, it will happen according to their timetable [in early 2025]” said Litgrid chief Rokas Masiulis.
“We see what happens in Ukraine, where people are being killed and bombs continue to fall – I don’t think it’s the right choice to keep cooperating with the aggressor just because this saves a few cents,” he said.