Press conference with the participation of the Minister of Energy of the Republic of Belarus Viktor Karankevich
On December 20, 2021, a press conference was held at the BElTA press center, timed to coincide with the Power Engineer's Day, which is celebrated in the country on December 22.
The press conference was attended by the Minister of Energy of the Republic of Belarus Viktor Karankevich, General Director of State Production Association "Belenergo" Pavel Drozd, General Director of State Production Association "Beltopgaz" Alexey Kushnarenko, General Director of Gosenergogaznadzor Alexander Ozerets.
As the Minister noted, this year was a jubilee for power engineers and was held under the auspices of the 90th anniversary of the country's energy system. The power engineers approached this remarkable date with significant results and achievements, the most important of which is the commissioning of the first power unit of the Belarusian nuclear power plant.
The plant generates about 28 million kWh of electricity daily, which is 22% of the total electricity production in the country. Since the inclusion of the first power unit in the integrated energy system, 5.7 billion kWh of electricity have been generated, which made it possible to replace 1.6 billion m3 of natural gas. This is 2.5 times more than the annual electricity consumption by the country's petrochemical complex.
The availability of the second power unit is 95%. Now, work is underway on it to fulfill the necessary conditions for obtaining a permit from Gosatomnadzor to load nuclear fuel into the reactor core. It is planned that these works will be completed in the coming days.
A lot of work has been done to integrate the BelNPP into the country's energy system. This is the construction of new and modernization of existing high-voltage power lines and backbone substations. This made it possible to ensure the supply of electricity from nuclear power plants to all regions of the country. In addition, the construction of electric boilers with a total capacity of more than 916 MW has been completed at 20 power facilities. Since this year, these facilities have been actively used for heating large settlements.
Projects for the construction of peak-reserve sources are at the final stage. In 2022, they will be put into operation at four large plants of the Belenergo State Production Association. Their total capacity will be 800 MW. Peak-reserve sources will ensure the reliability of the power system operation, taking into account the various operating modes of the nuclear power plant.
The Council of Ministers identified the potential for growth in electricity consumption by the real sector of the economy and approved an intersectoral set of measures to increase electricity consumption until 2025, including through the implementation of investment projects in various sectors of the economy. Its implementation will provide an increase in electricity consumption at the level of 2.7 billion kWh per year by 2026. This will be achieved both through the modernization of existing production facilities and through the creation of new ones.
The electrification of the country's housing stock will continue. The Ministry of Energy approved the Program for Increasing Electricity Consumption for Heating, Hot Water Supply and Food Preparation for 2021–2025. The document includes three main directions. The first is the construction of new electrified housing, where electricity will be used for heating and hot water supply. The second direction is the transfer of multi-apartment housing stock from the use of solid fuel to electricity. The third direction is the transfer of the existing individual housing stock to the use of electricity for heating and hot water supply.
Along with gasification, these works will cover a larger number of settlements to create more comfortable living conditions for our citizens.
At the level of the Head of State, incentive tariffs for the population were approved. Decree No. 127 of April 14, 2020 determined a mechanism for reimbursing part of the costs of citizens for the electricity supply of the operated housing stock. This gave a serious impetus to the use of electricity for heating and hot water supply. As a result, the volume of electricity consumption by the population for heating and hot water supply in Belarus for 11 months of this year increased 3.3 times compared to the same period last year - from 69 to 225 million kWh.
In January-November of this year, energy supplying organizations received 24.4 thousand requests for the issuance of technical specifications for an increase in electrical capacity for the use of electricity in single-family residential buildings for heating and hot water supply, of which 82% or 20.1 thousand were satisfied ...
Positive dynamics is also observed in the growth of electricity consumption in the real sector of the economy. Over 11 months, the increase amounted to 1.2 billion kWh - both due to the commissioning of new industrial production facilities and an increase in the workload of existing enterprises.
It is expected that by the end of 2021, the total electricity consumption in the country will grow by 5.6% and exceed 40 billion kWh.
Answering journalists' questions Viktor Karankevich said that the combined electricity market of Belarus and Russia will start working on January 1, 2024.
An interstate agreement on the formation of a unified electricity market of the Union State is being developed. At the level of specialized organizations, modes of joint work, conditions of interaction for sellers and buyers of electricity, issues of infrastructure development are being worked out.
“In accordance with the union program, approved by the integration Decree of the Heads of State of Belarus and Russia on November 4, the unified electricity market of the Union State will start working on January 1, 2024. From that moment on, the mechanism of trade between the authorized organizations of our countries will begin to operate”, the Minister explained.
From January 1, 2027, a transition to deeper integration in the electric power sector is envisaged, which implies a convergence of business conditions for market participants.
The question of the implementation of the new Union program in the field of atomic energy was also raised. As Viktor Karankevich said, cooperation with Russia will develop as part of the further operation of the BelNPP and the extension of its service life. This implies partnership in a wide range of areas: scientific support of the project, the introduction of new repair technologies, maintenance of security systems, the involvement of Russian institutions in the development of regulatory documents. A new area of interaction will be the management of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel. The first practical steps have already been taken to implement this task - an intergovernmental agreement has been signed between the countries on the transportation of nuclear materials.
Together with Russian colleagues, an intergovernmental agreement on the management of spent nuclear fuel of the Belarusian NPP is being developed. The document is planned to be prepared for signing by July 1, 2022.
They also discussed the replacement of induction meters for household consumers with electronic ones. Their share in the country has already grown to 80%. For 11 months of 2021, at the expense of energy supply organizations, 458.3 thousand metering devices were replaced at household consumers. A total of 2.5 million electronic electricity meters have already been installed in 2016–2021.
To automate the metering of electrical energy, electronic meters of household subscribers are combined into an automated system ASKUE-household. As of December 1, this system has already united 1.8 million household subscribers. The use of electronic meters and their integration into ASKUE-everyday life provides household consumers with the opportunity to pay for electricity at tariffs differentiated by time periods, and to reduce their costs, as well as receive information on the amount of electricity consumed for the billing period when making payments in AIS "Raschet" without self-reading. In the future, ASKUE-everyday life will be integrated with ERIP, which will further simplify payments.