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Baltics TSOs: supply of electricity is ensured, but the situation is tense

The increase in electricity consumption in the Baltic and Scandinavian countries caused by the extreme cold, combined with the shutdowns of thermal power plants due to repairs in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, caused a significant increase in electricity prices: on 7 December the average electricity price in the Baltics and Finland reached 469.03 euros/megawatt-hour (MWh), increasing even up to 1000.07 euros/MWh in the peak hours.

According to the Latvian transmission system operator Augstsprieguma tīkls (AST), although the situation in the Scandinavian and Baltic power systems is tense, the amount of electricity capacity reserves in Latvia is sufficient to provide every consumer with the required amount of electricity.

“The high electricity consumption in the Baltics and, at the same time, the total shutdown of around 1,300 megawatts (MW) of thermal power plants in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania create a tense electricity balance situation,” said Gatis Junghāns, AST board member. “However, a well-developed transmission network ensures that the missing electricity is imported from the European market. At the same time, a total of around 800 MW of emergency generation reserves are available in the Baltics, which are intended to compensate for the lack of resources in the event of the loss of a large power plant or interconnector. During this period, power plants in Latvia provide the electricity needed for national consumption and even export it to the neighbouring countries during peak hours. The situation is tense, but the electricity supply is stable.”

The Baltics currently produce about 58 per cent of their electricity, importing the missing electricity mainly from the European market and to a lesser extent from Russia.

“If the electricity market is unable to cover the consumption of electricity in a situation where the system is under pressure, it is possible to use strategic reserves and emergency capacities that are at the disposal of system operators and are not in everyday use on the electricity market in order to ensure the security of supply in the region,” added Taavi Veskimägi, Chairman of the Management Board of Estonia’s TSO Elering.

The Baltics have 750-850 MW of emergency reserves for coping with potential accidents and emergencies that may occur in the electrical system. According to the information published by the electricity producers, most of the thermal power plants in the Baltics will be gradually returned to work by mid-December, which will normalise the market situation.

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