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Nearly 60 famous Lithuanian power engineers, scientists, former energy and economy ministers and heads of business associations encouraged the government to take decisive actions in order to save thermal power plants as reserve electric power sources. The government adopted a resolution on October 7 that will effectively leave the thermal power plants unused.
Vilnius' thermal power plant
Vilnius' thermal power plant
© DELFI / Karolina Pansevič

The energy experts warned the country's highest authorities that Lithuania, left with only one electric power plant in Elektrėnai, could face a disruption of its entire electrical grid.

In a letter addressed to President Dalia Grybauskaitė, Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius, Energy Minister Rokas Masiulis, energy professionals, politicians and scientists all said that they could not stand by while reckless and short-sighted decisions undermine local electricity generation capabilities. Because of the government's decision, thermal power plants in Vilnius, Kaunas and Panevežys will no longer be able to operate.

In the letter, the experts write, “After losing efficient gas-based electric generation capabilities, they will not be compensated by the new power plants planned to be built in Vilnius and Kaunas. As an analysis by Lithuanian energy consultants shows, electricity prices in the market immediately go up when there are no local producers, especially in the winter months when electricity prices increase in the Nord Pool Spot exchange market.”

Energy experts are calling for the government to leave the thermal plants as a reserve source of electricity generation at least until the new power plants in Vilnius and Kaunas are completed and operational.

The letter was signed by former energy ministers Leonas Vaidotas Ašmantas, Algimantas Vladas Stasiukynas, Saulius Aloyzas Bernardas Kutas, Arvydas Sekmokas, former economy ministers Kęstutis Daukšys and Vytas Navickas, chairman of the Association for Energy Economics Jurgis Vilemas, Lithuanian Energy Institute Director Sigitas Rimkevičius, Vytautas Magnus University Rector Juozas Augutis, chairman of the Lithuanian Committee of the World Energy Council Rymantas Juozaitis and more than 50 other famous power engineers, scientists, politicians and businessmen in Lithuania.

The energy specialists said they don't understand why the government supports the maintenance of significantly more-expensive equipment. The average combined cost of maintenance for 1 megawatt (MW) of power at Vilnius' third thermal power plant and at the thermal power plants in Kaunas and Panevėžys is about €24,000 a year. Meanwhile, the maintenance of 1 MW of power at the power plant in Elektrėnai costs about €37,000 annually.

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