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26 February 2021, 17:15

Higher electricity consumption identified as priority in Belarus

MINSK, 26 February (BelTA) – Increasing the consumption of electricity is a high-priority task for the next five years, BelTA learned from Belarusian Energy Minister Viktor Karankevich on 26 February.

During the 6th Belarusian People's Congress Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko outlined the main directions of the country's social and economic development for the next five years. Priorities were also outlined for the power engineering industry. Those include efforts to increase Belarus' energy self-sufficiency by diversifying types and suppliers of fuel and energy resources, efforts to increase the use of locally available fuels, renewable sources of energy, reduce dependence on hydrocarbon raw materials by means of commissioning the nuclear power plant.

Viktor Karankevich
Viktor Karankevich

Viktor Karankevich said: “To commission the Belarusian nuclear power plant, integrate it into the national power grid and the national economy are the top-priority task for us for this year and for the years after this one. In particular, plans have been made to build peaking and backup power plants, which total output capacity will be 800MW. Work will continue to increase electricity usage by companies and by households, primarily for heating and hot water supply. We are going to increase the construction and modernization of high-voltage power substations and distribution power lines.”

The official reminded that in January the Energy Ministry adopted a program on increasing the consumption of electricity used for heating, hot water supply, and cooking for the 2021-2025 period. Its realization will increase the availability of electricity for heating and hot water supply in existing households and new households that heavily rely on electricity. Electricity consumption for these purposes is expected to increase up to 900 million kWh by the end of the five-year term.

In 2020 electricity consumption by Belarusian households for the sake of heating and hot water supply increased by seven times in comparison with 2019 – from 12.9 million kWh to 89.4 million kWh.

In 2020 electric companies received about 24,200 applications for technical specifications for switching single-family houses to electricity for the sake of heating and hot water supply. About 19,200 applications or 80% of them were granted. In 2020 over 8,000 electricity users switched to tariffs, which are specifically designed to encourage electricity use for heating and hot water supply. The total number of such users exceeded 11,000 in the last two years.

Viktor Karankevich stressed that despite complicated conditions the Energy Ministry had done a good job accomplishing all the tasks set by the government. All the key targets were hit last year. Belarusian consumers were reliably supplied with electricity, gas, and fuel bricks. Emergencies were fixed promptly and smoothly, including those caused by bad weather. Systemic work continued to renew the physical infrastructure and increase the reliability of gas and electricity provision to consumers.

As for the key project of the Belarusian power engineering industry – the construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant – another stage in the process of integration of the nuclear power plant into the power grid has been completed. Electric boilers have been built at cogeneration plants and major boiler houses of the national energy company Belenergo. Their installed output capacity was 916MW at the end of 2020. These facilities were actively used in January-February 2021 as part of the pilot commercial operation stage of the first unit of the Belarusian nuclear power plant.

Close attention was paid to the modernization of energy infrastructure. 2020 saw 1,900km of power lines and 183km of heating pipelines built and 1,400km of various gas pipelines commissioned. Centralized natural gas supply was made available to 32,000 households.

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