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Opinions & Interviews

20 Dec 2017

Energy minister explains reasons for Belarus’ decision to stop importing electricity in 2018

Energy minister explains reasons for Belarus’ decision to stop importing electricity in 2018

MINSK, 20 December (BelTA) – Energy Minister Vladimir Potupchik explained the reasons behind Belarus’ decision to stop importing electricity in 2018, BelTA informs.

“There is no politics in here. Russia has always been and remains to be the main strategic partner for Belarus. The decision to stop importing electricity is purely economic,” noted Vladimir Potupchik.

According to the minister, Belarus has come a long path to abandon the import of electricity, gradually reducing its supply from abroad and modernizing its own power grid. Two large-scale sectoral programs have been implemented in the country, which significantly increased the efficiency of the Belarusian energy system. For 2017, fuel consumption in electricity production makes up about 230gr of equivalent fuel per 1 kWh (this is one of the most important indicators that characterizes the efficiency of the power grid, the fuel component in electricity generation costs is 85%). Belarus’ partner states in the Eurasian Economic Union have higher fuel consumption rate in electricity generation.

Belarus has been reducing electricity generation costs. In the past 5 years alone they have reduced by 30%, stated Vladimir Potupchik. This allows keeping low tariffs for electricity and heat for the population. “Electricity rates for the population are almost the same as in Russia, while the gas price for Belarusian power engineers is almost 2 times higher than that for Russian counterparts. Heat energy rates are 3 times lower than in Russia,” he noted. Tariffs for the real economic sector have reduced by more than 15% over the past 5 years.

The maximum volume of electricity imported to Belarus was 7.8 billion kWh per year. This year it will be 2.7 billion kWh. It was decided to stop importing electricity in 2018. "We have summed up all the things in the economic sector to see that it will be more profitable for the country to secure the domestic generation of electricity using own sources. The load on the currency market will be eased by $300 million in 2018 ($140 million is the electricity purchase and $160 million is the savings from the modernization of the Belarusian power grid),” Vladimir Potupchik said.

 

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