Nuclear power expansion in Kaliningrad: cooperation or competition?

in BDF Events, News

24-25 November the conference “Scenarios for Sustainable Energy Development of the Kaliningrad Region as an Integral part of the Baltic Sea Region” was held in Kaliningrad. This is a report from the meeting.

Conference objective and main themes of discussion

The objective of the conference was to continue the dialogue with Russian partners on energy planning and energy efficiency which was initiated last year. The main issue discussed was the plans to build the Baltic Nuclear Power Plant in Kaliningrad, which will influence the framework of energy efficiency initiatives in Kaliningrad as well as energy planning in neighbouring countries, especially Lithuania’s plans to build a replacement of the Ignalina nuclear power plant.

The conference welcomed more than 100 participants from the Kaliningrad region, North-West Russia, its neighboring countries such as Poland, Lithuania, Germany, Denmark, Finland and Norway.

Conference programme

List of particiants

Specific Sessions of the Programme

Baltic Development Forum Director Hans Brask chaired a political debate on regional energy cooperation and the nuclear power expansion in which Minister of infrastructure development of the Kaliningrad region Alexander Rolbinov, senior energy advisors Vivi Yieng-Kow and Per Stokholm on behalf of the Baltic Sea Region Energy Cooperation (BASREC), deputy head of division of international energy policy at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology of Germany Joerg Kirsch and energy advisor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Vilijus Samuila. The conference was opened by Arne Grove, Head of the information Office of Nordic Council of Ministers.

The 2010 Report Energy Perspectives for the Kaliningrad Region

Energy consultant Anders Kofoed-Wiuff presented the report “Energy perspectives for the Kaliningrad region as an integrated part of the Baltic Sea region” prepared by Ea Energy Analyses and financed by the Nordic Council of Ministers and Baltic Development Forum.

Download the Report in English

Download the Report in Russian

The report proved to serve as a good starting point and provided a solid basis for an improved dialogue. All the participants recognised that energy security was essential to debating the expansion of energy generating capacity in the region but appreciated that the chosen technical/analytical approach in the report helped to avoid an over-politicised focus on the issue.

A key issue during the whole conference was the question whether there was room for two nuclear power plants in this part of the region. The report on energy perspectives suggested that there would be room for two, assuming that electricity would be possible to export to markets in Poland/Germany. This hypothesis was, however, questioned, since Artur Franciszek Gluszek, Inter-TSO cooperation, forecasted that the necessary transmission links in Eastern Poland would not be established within a foreseeable future. He added that Poland had its own plan to build nuclear power plants. Vilijus Samuila from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania also expressed doubt that there was a need for two nuclear power plants so close to each other. Mr. Maxim V. Kozlov, Head of Baltic Group Baltic Nuclear Power Plant, at the Russian electricity company INTERRAO assured that construction works on the Baltic Nuclear Power Plant would proceed and displayed pictures showing that work had already begun on the site.

From the Russian side both criticism and appreciation was expressed after the presentation of the report. Although recognizing that a substantial report had been elaborated, there was a need for more precise and accurate data on Kaliningrad. Also doubts were expressed towards the conclusions of the study as regards the possible use of coal and wind energy that were not seen as likely parameters in the future energy scenario for the Kaliningrad. Similar scepticism was expressed as regards the use of biomass. As it was stated by one of the Russian speakers, “renewable is not a panacea”.

Business Opportunities related to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy?

Business opportunities on energy efficiency and renewable energy were explored, as well as public-private partnerships as a tool for boosting innovation in the region. Furthermore, experiences from foreign partners, including good practice on government incentives to grow innovative clean-tech companies, was shared. A number of municipal authorities as well as the regional authority of Kaliningrad Oblast presented their newly developed energy efficiency plans and the activities planned to meet the set energy saving targets. The Union of Baltic Cities also presented views on the importance of forward looking initiatives on energy savings and energy efficiency. There was a good exchange of views and a lively debate.

The EU-Russia Energy Dialogue

The conference contributed very directly to the EU-Russia energy dialogue – which had its 11th meeting in Brussels few days earlier – that has as one of its key objectives to exchange views on energy forecasts and scenarios and to exchange information, increase transparency and mutual confidence. The Kaliningrad conference successfully addressed the topic that has a major conflict potential.

Read more at the European Commission’s website (Energy – External Dimension – Russia).

Conclusions of the Meeting

Part of the conclusions of the conference was a need of working out mechanisms of coordination and distribution of power; a need to extend best practice in energy planning, including training courses in mastering energy planning tools; a need to improve the Public-Private Partnership instruments; finding a balance between big tech and small tech which potential was not fully explored; a need for broader application of modern technologies like energy-saving LED light tech, district heating and combined heat/power; a need of investments into interconnectors and transmission networks.

Media Reporting

The conference attracted a lot of media attention from local media but also the international and foreign press have reported on the matter:

Russia proposes “electricity pipeline” to Germany, by Karel Beckman, European Energy Review.

Billig strøm fra ny Østersø-akraft vil presse VE-planer, by Erik Holm, Teknologisk Indsigt (in Danish)

Further Information

A final report of the conference (chairman’s conclusion) is under preparation and the different presentation will also be available for download from this article at the BDF Website in due course.

BDF Contact Person: Viktoria Nilsson,
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