The USA Further Strongly Supports Lithuania’s Aspirations for Energy Independence

Date

2021 09 29

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On 22–24 September, Minister of Energy Dainius Kreivys participated in the High-Level Meeting of the Partnership for Transatlantic Energy Cooperation (the so-called P-TEC cooperation format). It is already the third High-Level P-TEC meeting – this time organised in Warsaw, Poland – attended by high-level delegations, including the delegation from the USA, led by the US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, and delegations from 24 European countries. The P-TEC meeting has been organised at the US initiative, aiming at follow-up discussions on the issue of enhancing energy security in Central and Eastern Europe. In response to the global energy developments determined by climate change, this year all P-TEC countries have agreed to include the climate change dimension in the transatlantic energy cooperation format and rename it as the Partnership for Transatlantic Energy and Climate Cooperation (the P-TECC cooperation format). 

In the “Call to Action: From P-TEC to P-TECC” plenary session, Minister of Energy Mr. Kreivys noted that transatlantic cooperation is the guarantee of energy security within Europe and the US is among the key strategic partners of Lithuania and other countries in the region as regards energy. Addressing the participants of the meeting, the Minister of Energy encouraged to continue cooperation among the P-TECC countries, which is becoming particularly relevant while the energy sector undergoes key changes. “Electrification, decentralisation and decarbonisation of the energy sector will fundamentally change our perception of the sector. These energy sector developments will not only bring positive changes but also present certain challenges related to the resilience of energy infrastructure to cyber threats. It is a common challenge to all P-TECC countries; therefore, we must combine our efforts to search for the most suitable solutions in order to protect the critical energy infrastructure against cyber attacks,” stated Minister Kreivys.

One of the P-TECC sessions was focused on the discussion of cooperation and follow-up in the area of cyber security. The ministers who attended the session agreed that cyber threats are among the key challenges that unite P-TECC countries. Thus, it is necessary to enhance national capacities at both political and technical levels. In the case of the Baltic States, strengthening cyber security measures becomes particularly relevant while Baltic States are preparing to desynchronization from the IPS/UPS system and start synchronous operation with the Continental European grids. Albinas Zananavičius, Lithuanian Vice-Minister of Energy, and Andrew Light, Assistant Secretary of the US Department of Energy, who moderated the session, also chair one of the permanent P-TECC working groups on critical infrastructure protection against cyber threats. Together with other three P-TECC working groups, this group was set up during the 2nd High-Level P-TEC meeting held on 7 October 2019 in Vilnius and brings together representatives from Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia and Croatia. 

During the visit to Warsaw, the meeting among the US Energy Secretary and the Energy Ministers of the three Baltic States was also held. It is the third time that this high-level US-Baltic energy dialogue format is organised. The so-called ‘3+1’ format was established on 6 October 2019, after the USA, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania signed a joint declaration on the establishment and further implementation of a high-level US-Baltic ministerial dialogue on energy, thus contributing to the implementation of the P-TEC initiative. At the meeting held on 24 September, the US Energy Secretary and the Baltic Energy Ministers discussed the practical results of ‘3+1’ cooperation in the areas of strengthening cyber security measures while implementing the project of Baltic synchronisation with the Continental European grids, natural gas supply diversification in the region, and the development of clean energy technology innovation, as well as agreed on further cooperation directions and actions. Minister Kreivys expressed the common interest of the Baltic States to further “demonstrate leadership within the P-TECC framework and pursue practical activities in the areas of cyber security and climate change, thus becoming a good model of regional cooperation to other P-TECC countries”.