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Litgrid CEO: Better use of the power system – possibilities in our hands

Two power interconnections, the NordBalt and LitPol Link, are to start operating from January and will provide new opportunities for Lithuania to make better use of the power system infrastructure for the attraction of new large consumers, according to Daivis Virbickas, Chairman of the Board and CEO at Litgrid, the Lithuanian electricity transmission system operator, at the 7th Lithuanian Energy Conference. He is confident that the experience gained in the implementation of these projects, which are critical for regional security and reliability of electricity supply, can earn the reputation as a regional centre of competence in energy. 
“We have what we need to make better use of the power system infrastructure, with the ultimate goal to create welfare for everyone and promote economic growth. We have a well-developed and reliable high-voltage electricity transmission grid that will support electricity flows from five neighbouring power systems starting next year, with an estimated annual growth of 2.2 % in electricity consumption, and a transparent electricity market. This meets the needs of the major consumers of electricity, the industry and service sectors, which account for 70 % of the electricity consumed in Lithuania. They have only one wish – to have a competitive price for electricity and a reliable supply,” Mr. Virbickas said. 
According to D. Virbickas, the critical role of a power system is illustrated by the power system crisis in Poland in August this year, when major industrial consumers were subjected to restrictions on electricity consumption due to high temperature in order to secure the power system and supply to all consumers. Analysts estimate that in two days of restrictions that the Polish industry could have incurred a loss of 40 mln EUR. The LitPol Link could have decreased this loss. 
In the presentation of the annual Lithuanian energy system and network development plan, he emphasized that the development of the electricity transmission grid has been planned under the lowest cost principle, maintaining the same strategic directions: fully-fledged integration into the European Continental Networks, common development of the European electricity market, and reliable operation of the system.  
“Although investments in the power transmission grid account for less than 6 % of the price paid by the end consumers of electricity, the implemented projects will have an effect on the total reduction of the electricity rate,” Mr. Virbickas emphasized. 
Lithuania still remains one the few European countries that, according to the estimates, will experience growth in electricity consumption by 2024. According to the forecasts, electricity consumption might grow from the current 10 terawatt-hours to 13.79 terawatt-hours in one decade. 
Opposite trends have been observed in Europe, where electricity consumption has reduced by 2.4 % last year. Similar to generation, electricity consumption has been mostly affected by the slowdown of economic growth across the continent, relative warm winter, as well as the strive to use energy resources more efficiently. The electricity generated by fossil fuel, nuclear, and hydroelectric power plants continue to account for the largest share in the consumption. In 2014, the installed wind and solar power sources grew by 12 % each, and the energy generated from renewable resources accounted for almost a third of the total electricity consumed. 
Electricity generation is estimated to reduce in the short-term in Lithuania. Nonetheless, local power plants are estimated to account for about half of the total electricity consumed in 2024 upon the increase in generation by wind, hydroelectric, and other power plants using renewable resources. According to the forecasts, investments in the Lithuanian electricity transmission network will reach EUR 870 million within the decade, with two-thirds allocated to strategic projects, and a quarter to renovation of the transmission grid. 
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