Belarus may continue to import electricity after first nuclear power plant reactor launch

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Aug. 3, 2012, 8:56 a.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Interfax-Ukraine

Belarus may continue to import electricity to 2020, after the launch of a nuclear power plant, if it makes economic sense.
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MINSK - Belarus may continue to import electricity to 2020, after the launch of a nuclear power plant, if it makes economic sense.

This stipulation is included in the government program for the development of Belarusian industrial potential to 2020, which was recently approved by the Council of Ministers. Interfax has a copy of the program.

"The planned development of energy sources will cover the anticipated demand for electricity to the volume of 39.3 billion kilowatts per hour in 2015 and 41.8 billion kW/h in 2020 through generation at Belarusian generating sources, which does not exclude the possibility of importing electricity if it makes economic sense," the document says.

The program says that by the end of 2020 the strategic objectives in the production and distribution of electricity, gas, steam and hot water will increase the efficiency and reliability of the energy system through the modernization and development of generating sources. Obsolete generating capacity will be decommissioned and the fuel and energy system balance diversified through the development of nuclear power, and renewable energy sources. The program envisages an investment project to build and launch an NPP with 2,340 megawatt capacity. Earlier it was reported that the first reactor would be launched in 2018 and a second in 2020. The document says that to increase the efficiency of production of electric and thermal energy, Belarus will build modern combined heat and power plants, including two units with 400 megawatt capacity at the Lukomlskoi and Berezovskoi power plants. These projects will reduce fuel consumption in the production of electricity for Belenergo 10% in 2015 compared to 2010 (under comparable conditions) and 15% in 2020.

Construction of local sources with capacity of 245 megawatts at the basis of co-generation plants, is planned, including with the use of local types of fuel, as well as maximum cost-efficiency in the development of energy sources using local fuel and energy resources. By the end of 2020 Belarus plans to build and launch 160 energy sources from local types of fuel with overall capacity of 32.6 megawatts, hydro power plants with capacity of around 100 megawatts, wind power plants with 300 megawatt capacity, solar energy installations, biogas complexes and plants using solid domestic waste.

The use of nuclear power, local types of fuel and renewable sources of energy will enable the replacement of around 7 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually.

Belarus imports electricity from Russia and Ukraine and average annual imports fluctuate at around 5 billion kilowatt hours.

The Belarusian government earlier approved a program for the development of the Belarusian energy system to 2016. The document says with new efficient generating capacity the country could soon start exporting electricity. The Belarusian Energy Ministry, which drafted the program, estimates that average annual exports may reach 3 billion to 5 billion kilowatt hours at below average European prices.

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