Energy solidarity principle at the core of the January 13th ECJ hearing on OPAL pipeline

Energy solidarity principle at the core of the January 13th ECJ hearing on OPAL pipeline

“We are convinced of the strength of the arguments put forward by Poland. Currently, our cooperation with the European Commission on OPAL and many other key topics for EU energy security is constructive and undertaken in a spirit of a very good cooperation” said Michał Kurtyka, Polish Minister for Climate and Environment after the ECJ Grand Chamber questioned the Commission, Poland and Germany on the OPAL case and the significance of European energy solidarity.  On January 13, 2021, the European Court of Justice held the last hearing of parties on European Commission's 2016 Decision which granted Gazprom access to full capacity of the OPAL. The hearing closed a formal part of the proceedings in the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice (2nd instance) on the German plea against the 2019 General Court’s (1st instance) ruling which stated that the Commission had breached the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU while issuing the OPAL Decision back in 2016. Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia called to uphold the 2019 ruling. The Court of Justice decided to organize a rare plenary sitting of the Grand Chamber (15 Judges).  This suggests it may wish to push for a clear interpretation of the principle of energy solidarity in its final ruling as well as deliberate on the legal obligations of Member States and the EU Institution, something that has been eluding the Union since the Lisbon Treaty. Likely, it will be a landmark ruling for countries that have argued for solidarity and energy security to be pillars of the European Union for years. – The hearing at the Grand Chamber of the Court [...]
The largest photovoltaic plant of Central and Eastern Europe is to be built in Poland

The largest photovoltaic plant of Central and Eastern Europe is to be built in Poland

Construction of the largest photovoltaic power plant in Central and Eastern Europe will start in 1Q 2021 in Pomerania, Northern Poland. The photovoltaic power plant in Zwartów will have 203 MW of installed capacity and will produce approximately 6 TWh of energy over the entire life cycle of the plant. It will reduce by at least 5 million tonnes of CO2 by 30 years. The project was awarded a 15-year contract for difference with the state in a renewables auction last year. The value of the power plant after construction will amount to approximately 200 million euros. This project will supply around 153.000 households with green electricity in the future, meeting the needs of about as many people as live in the city of Gdansk. The planned solar farm in Zwartów is to be finalised in 1Q 2022. The ambitious project will contribute to increase the share of renewables in the power system. According to the Polish National Energy and Climate Plan, solar capacity is expected to reach 7.3 GW by 2030 with about half installed by 2025. Source: CEEenergy, Biznes Newseria, [...]
Lithuania is set to embark on the development of green hydrogen technologies – a Lithuanian Hydrogen Platform has been created!

Lithuania is set to embark on the development of green hydrogen technologies – a Lithuanian Hydrogen Platform has been created!

On November 30th, the Ministry of Energy in the Republic of Lithuania announced the successful completion of an agreement establishing a hydrogen platform between 19 Lithuanian organizations, including the Ministry of Economy and Innovation and the Ministry of Transport. Three member organizations of the Central Europe Energy Partners, EPSO-G, Amber Grid and Achema, are among the signatories of this agreement. The Lithuanian Hydrogen Platform sets the following objectives: Participate in the formation of national, regional and EU policies and objectives including, but not limited to, the preparation of the Lithuanian Hydrogen Strategy and Hydrogen Development Action Plan; Contribute to proposing legislative initiatives to promote the development of hydrogen technologies in the country, ensuring cross-sectoral integration of hydrogen and the deployment of related technologies; Encourage joint research, experimental development and innovation activities of Members with an aim to developing new products, services and businesses related to hydrogen technologies in the country. Recently, Rolandas Zukas, CEO of EPSO-G, emphasized that “this agreement is laying a solid foundation for the development of hydrogen energy in Lithuania. […] we see that hydrogen energy will create significant synergies in the electricity and gas sectors.”. EPSO-G group companies have already shifted their focus towards the investments in research for hydrogen technology applications, including piloting projects. As hydrogen becomes an essential element of the energy mix in Europe, novel ideas must be developed around the efficient production, storage and transportation of green hydrogen. This requires cooperation among energy companies, public institutions and researchers, among others. A well-functioning eco-system must be created enabling synergies between different power supply sectors, public institutions and different EU member states. First [...]
Lithuania is set build one of the largest battery parks in the world

Lithuania is set build one of the largest battery parks in the world

Lithuania embarks on a mission to build one of the largest battery storage systems in the world, which is expected to be finalized by the end of 2021.The country is investing €100 million to build four 50 Megawatt(MW) batteries with at least of 200 Megawatt hours (MWh) of storage capacity. The Minister of Energy, Žygimantas Vaičiūnas, emphasized that the park would be one of the largest and the most innovative battery parks in the world. Currently there are only two larger parks in the world located in California. This project will contribute, together with the new PL-LT interconnectors, to Lithuania’s efforts disconnecting from the Russian-controlled  BRELL energy network. The project is expected to speed up desynchronization efforts, improve energy security and reduce reliance on the Russian-controlled energy grid. The new battery park will also support renewable power generation of Lithuania. Battery storage systems will play a key role in the green energy transformation, new energy facilities will rely on the climate-neutral technologies, emitting 0 g / kWh of CO2. They will also assist in absorbing power surpluses of wind and solar technologies as well as compensating for lower production periods. By 2025, Lithuania, together with the two other Baltic states, will fully switch to the European electric grid, as it has been a strategic priority of the country for some time. In addition, to modernize the EU’s batteries legislation, and promote the decarbonization of the EU economy, the European Commission plans to adopt a regulation on Batteries, Energy Storage and Electric Vehicles, which will be likely published in the coming days. Sources: Reuters, lrt.lt, [...]
Final stages of Croatia’s first LNG terminal in the northern Adriatic Sea

Final stages of Croatia’s first LNG terminal in the northern Adriatic Sea

The Republic of Croatia is approaching its final stages in the development of a Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) terminal in the Adriatic Sea. The official launch for Croatia’s first LNG terminal is set for January 1, 2021, with a capacity of 2.6 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas per year. As part of Croatian Krk LNG import project, a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) has been delivered, which brings Croatia one step closer to the club of LNG importing nations. The vessel, named LNG Croatia, departed from China on September 20, 2020 and is expected to reach the shores of Europe by October 20, 2020.  Before it reaches the Croatian LNG terminal, additional testing of LNG Croatia vessel will be conducted at the Viktor Lenac shipyard. The overall cost for the Croatian LNG terminal amounts to €233.6 million, out of which €32.2 million is coming from the LNG terminal company shareholders, €101.4 million from the EU funds. i.e. Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) and €100 million as a direct financial contribution from the Croatian State budget. The Croatian LNG terminal is expected to supplement the needs of not only the Croatian economy but also those of Slovenia, Italy, Hungary and other Balkan countries. Sources: European Commission, lng.hr, [...]
The Baltic synchronisation project receives record financial support

The Baltic synchronisation project receives record financial support

A Commission proposal to invest nearly €1 billion in European energy infrastructure was approved by EU Member States. The large amount of funding will be allocated to 5 key European energy projects under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) and 3 of them are located in Central Europe: the Baltic Synchronisation Project, phase II: €720 million, Danube Ingrid: €102 million, the Bulgaria – Serbia Interconnector: €28 million. The application for the Phase II of the Baltic Synchronization Project was given the highest score out of 28 application submitted for funding, receiving a maximum 75% of total available funds. The second phase will focus on 3 areas: the construction of the Lithuanian-Polish Interconnector Harmony Link (€493 million), support for the installations of synchronous compensators in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (€166.5 million) and the modernization and development of local grids, which will use remaining funds to adjust the grids to allow for integration with the newly-built Harmony Link. CEO of Litgrid, Daivis Vibrickas, noted that the preparations for the second phase of synchronization were also running smoothly through COVID- 19: together with the Polish operator, we were carrying out the preparatory work for the Harmony Link connection, and we had already announced a tender for synchronous compensators. The Baltic Synchronization Project is important for the creation of common European electricity market, ensuring secure transmission and energy independence from Russian systems. According to the plans the project should be completed by the end of 2025 and will give the Baltic States full control over their electricity system. Sources: European Commission, enmin.lrv.lt, [...]