After the second power unit of the Belarusian NPP will come on stream in 2022, the share of natural gas in the energy mix of Belarus will drop to 60 per cent, said Minister of Energy Viktor Karankevich at the Eurasian Economic Forum.
The minister defined the nuclear power plant, owned by State Enterprise Belarusian NPP, as a key project, which has tangible economic benefits. The Belarusian nuclear power plant at Ostrovets, close to the Belarus-Lithuania border, is powered by a 1194 MW VVER-1200 unit supplied by Atomstroyexport, the nuclear equipment exporter branch of the Russian nuclear corporation Rosatom. Another 1194 MW VVER-1200 unit is under construction.
The plant entered commercial operation in June 2021, becoming the first VVER-1200 unit to operate outside Russia. The second power unit is at the stage of commissioning. So far the work is on schedule and according to the plans, the unit can be connected to the grid this year. Up until now, the nuclear power plant produced 9.3 billion kWh of electricity, replacing about 2.3 billion cubic meters of natural gas.
“Once the second power unit is commissioned, BelNPP will increase the volume of electricity production up to 18.5 billion kWh per year,” underlined the minister adding that this can replace about 4.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 7 million tons per year.
“With the launch of the BelNPP, the share of natural gas in the energy balance of Belarus is planned to be reduced to 60 per cent,” the minister noted.
Belarus set out to reduce its reliance on Russia as its single supplier of natural gas. The country imports all of its gas from Russia – much of it for electricity, which cost about 2.3 billion US dollars in 2020. The under construction nuclear plant at Ostrovets is pivotal to the energy startegy of Belarus as it’s expected to reduce gas imports by 5 billion cubic metres per year.