Russian firm suggests building undersea power cable to Estonia. BNS, 28.02.07

TALLINN, Feb 28, BNS - The Baltenergo company of Russia last week presented to board members of Estonia's national power utility Eesti Energia (Estonian Energy) an idea to build an undersea power cable from Russia to Estonia and start selling electricity generated by the Sosnovy Bor nuclear power plant to the Nordic market.

Spokespeople for Eesti Energia confirmed to BNS that a meeting with representatives of the Russian company took place and the board will start discussing the question next week.

According to the Russian-language business daily Delovye Vedomosti, it was suggested to build an around 1,000 megawatt cable through which approximately nine billion kilowatt-hours of electricity could be supplied annually.

Baltenergo earlier entertained the idea of building a power link of the same capacity from Russia to Finland but was denied permission by the Finnish authorities. The Finnish side gave as one the reasons for the refusal the fact that the project would force Fingrid to make large investments in its network.

Commenting on Baltenergo's interest, head of the Economy Ministry's energy department Einari Kisel told BNS the Russian company had not got in touch with the ministry.
If it turned to the ministry the Estonian side would have many questions to which Baltenergo would have to provide answers, he said.

The questions concern the same topics that were the reason why Finland rejected the project. One subject is environmental protection in Russia. Furthermore, if Estonia agreed to the project it would need to be certain that possible target markets for Russian electricity such as Sweden were actually interested in it, Kisel explained.

According to Delovye Vedomosti, Baltenergo officials have also met with executives of the Latvian state-owned power company Latvenergo.

At the start of this year a 350 megawatt Estonian-Finnish power cable went into operation through which power companies of the Baltic countries are exporting electricity to the Nordic market.

Tallinn newsroom, +372 610 88 22, majandus@bns.ee