According to Andrei Spinu, the deputy prime minister of Moldova, the government in Chisinau was unable to reach an agreement with MoldGRES, the company that produces electricity in the Transnistria separatist republic, which is supported by Russia. IntelliNews believes that Moldova has only so far secured 60% of the electricity it needs for November 1 based on information provided by Spinu.
Although the two parties have a meeting arranged for this week to discuss the energy problem, it is yet unclear what demands Transnistria is making in this current round of negotiations. This is the first time since the start of the war in Ukraine that Transnistria has shown hostility toward the Moldovan government if it threatens to cut off the country’s electrical supplies.
Even before the most recent change, Moldova was having trouble obtaining enough electricity, and the government has issued blackout advisories. After Russia attacked Ukraine’s electrical infrastructure, it stopped importing electricity from there. Also in October, Russian energy giant Gazprom reduced gas deliveries to Transnistria’s power plants, which feed all of Moldova.
Spinu claims that on November 1 and potentially the following days, Moldova won’t be able to provide 4,070MWh of power or the equivalent of “band” electricity (power generation delivered at a steady rate) delivered at a rate of 170MW.
Moldova was unable to agree a contract with MoldGRES
Since Transnistria uses a portion of the gas that Moldova receives from Gazprom to generate power, it obtains more than two-thirds of that amount. Contrary to the energy-saving measures implemented in Moldova proper, it is understood that Transnistria resumed operations at the Ribnita steel mill when the authorities in Tiraspol got confirmation of the gas supplies in November. However, the steel mill’s unusual working license from the Chisinau authorities is dependent on the electricity deal.
In these conditions, Moldova may experience blackouts even if it receives adequate gas because of the shortage of its generation capacity and the constrained capacity of the interconnector with Romania. The Russian missiles targeting the land near Moldova where they would prohibit the imports of Romanian electricity could be explained by the fact that part of the power is most likely delivered from Romania to Moldova through the infrastructure of Ukraine.
Moldova has limited resources
The resources Moldova can rely on for November 1 are rather limited.
Romania also provides emergency help to Moldova, although the transfer capacity (225MW with Ukraine acting as a middleman) and the demand on Romania’s system could provide challenges. As a result, market prices are high, despite being lower than in previous months.
Notably, Spinu omitted to mention the 100MW contract that Energocom quickly negotiated with the Romanian firm Hidroelectrica after MoldGRES cut back on supplies in October. At that time, the contract’s length was not specified.
Spinu recalled that in November, Gazprom stated that it would only be supplying Moldova with 5.7 million cubic meters of gas per day or 51% of the volume specified in the deal.
According to him, the volume would be split as follows: “3.4 million cubic meters per day for Transnistria and 2.3 million cubic meters per day for Moldova proper.”
Vadim Ceban, the president of Moldovagaz, initially announced a quite different division of gas from Gazprom between the Republic of Moldova and Transnistria. Only 54 million cubic meters, or 1.8 million cubic meters per day, will be sent to Moldova proper, with the remaining 3.9 million cubic meters per day going to Transnistria, according to Ceban. Ceban might have, however, believed that the ad hoc agreement agreed for a brief period in October would continue, in which case Moldova would continue supplying 0.5 million cubic meters of water per day to Transnistria in exchange for power.