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Litgrid: to maximise benefits of existing infrastructure, action must be taken now

Litgrid: to maximise benefits of existing infrastructure, action must be taken now

The existing electricity infrastructure not only offers possibilities of power trading, but also creates interdependences among the connected power systems. The Baltic countries operating within the synchronous IPS/UPS system and trading electricity on the Nordic and Baltic power exchange are a good sample of such interdependence, Daivis Virbickas, the CEO of Litgrid, stated at the Baltic Power Conference in Vilnius.
"We stand with our one foot in the East and the other in the West. Being a small country, we have no influence over our neighbours that are many times bigger than us – annual consumption of Warsaw with its surroundings equals that of all there Baltic countries together. Therefore, we are strongly dependent on the energy policies of our neighbours and electricity market mechanisms, and must be prepared to ensure a secure and reliable power supply. And flexible generation plays a very important role in it”, Virbickas said. 
The system adequacy report for the summer 2016 shows that 27 out of 40 European countries expect to import the electricity this season. According to Litgrid CEO, a comprehensive analysis and full picture of the region’s generation capacities is missing. "The Baltic Sea countries are developing electricity transmission infrastructure projects, however a well-balanced sustainable local generation must be developed at the same time, too. If the expectations for electricity import remain like seen from the report, we will all be facing a question ‘where are the generators producing the electricity we all plan to import’”, Virbickas said. 
According to Virbickas, a full-fledged integration of the Baltic power systems into the Continental European Network is the most important objective of the coming decade. "Synchronisation is a prerequisites for secure and reliable system operation and equal market operation conditions for the region. Now we are tied with the system, which future plans or even current status are unknown to us. We invest into the reliability and security of the power lines yet have no knowledge as to what happens in the other end of the line, nor how long it will operate. Lithuanian politics, economy and law making is in ‘synchronous mode’ with Western Europe for a number of years, yet the electricity interdependence still bounds us to the past.  The decisions to change must be taken now ", Virbickas stated.
Deeper integration of the markets will further reduce the price differences among the countries, it is forecast that by 2020 the price difference will not exceed one Euro. „Eliminating or minimising price differences means business will be able to focus on technological and innovative competencies as the prices of one of the most important resources, electricity, will be similar across Europe”, Mr Virbickas said. 
The first conference on Baltic and Nordic energy strategies in Vilnius gathered energy experts from the whole region of the Baltic Sea and Europe. Power producers, market participants, analysts and electricity traders, officials from state institutions, national regulators, scientists and electricity transmission system operators are discussing the national energy strategies and trying to find the synergies of integration. The questions discussed as well as the number of participants of the conference show the relevance of energy topics for Europe and strengthens the role of Lithuania as the regional energy competence centre. The photo gallery of the conference is here.
The Baltic Power Conference is organized by Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian electricity transmission system operators Litgrid, Augstsprieguma tikls and Elering and the European Network of Transmission System Operators, ENTSO-E.
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