Energy integration in the Baltics: An energy island no more?

5 October 2016

The Baltic countries have been suffering greatly from the fragmentation of EU energy markets. The infrastructural context inherited from the Soviet Union has played a significant role in allowing Russia to abuse its gas monopoly over the region, contributing to the definition of the region as an “energy island”. In addition, weak integration of the Baltic states with the EU’s electricity market has hampered security of supply. Nonetheless the situation is slowly improving. Under the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan (BEMIP), the EU is supporting electricity market integration as well as infrastructural upgrades and interconnections for both gas and electricity. More needs to be done however; the Baltic countries do not yet collectively benefit from some of their key infrastructure, although these facilities are large enough to enhance competition and security of supply for the whole region. This policy dialogue, organised with the support of the Permanent Representation of Lithuania, discussed the state of play of several key energy trends. These included demand, supply and market integration in the Baltic states; barriers to competition and security of supply in the regional energy market; the extent to which ongoing projects are aligned with the objectives of the Energy Union, and additional measures and support needed to truly free the region from being an energy island.

Speakers included: Marco Giuli, policy analyst at the European Policy Centre (EPC), Adam Romanowski, lawyer for the unit for networks and regional initiatives at the European Commission’s DG Energy, Pedro Cespedes, LNG Market Analyst at the International Energy Agency (IEA), Mantas Bartuška, CEO at Klaipėda Nafta in Lithuania, Rolands Irklis, Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Latvia, Kinga Raś, analyst at the Polish Institute of International Affairs