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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chubais Touts Electric Link From Vladivostok to Lisbon

NEW YORK -- UES head Anatoly Chubais said Sunday that a top European energy official shared his dream of a unified power system that would cut costs and save energy by linking grids from Vladivostok to Lisbon.

Chubais also hinted that a strategic investor could soon be found for the state-controlled Unified Energy Systems, which he said was already profiting from its restructuring.

He spoke to reporters during a break in an energy governors' meeting at the World Economic Forum.

"The theme of synchronizing Russian and European energy systems was raised a lot," he said.

Synchronization refers to switching to a parallel operational mode, which would allow Russia and Europe instantly to fill gaps in the other's power supplies by selling electricity to each other at times of reduced local need.

Chubais said he had discussed the notion briefly with European Commission Vice President and Commissioner for Transport and Energy Loyola de Palacio, whom he said was also at the meeting. "She is a firm supporter of our idea," said Chubais, who has hinted at ambitious electricity export plans in the past.

Russia and Ukraine have already coordinated their national power grids and the natural monopoly that Chubais runs has agreed to take a similar step with Belarus and the Baltic states. Chubais said the Commonwealth of Independent States electrical energy council would meet in March, and he hoped it would give his plan political backing. "Then we will go to working groups," he said, but noted, "There are huge technical, juridical and political problems."

Chubais said UES capitalization had doubled in four months. "But we need more than this. ... We categorically require direct strategic investment in our power plants, in our power transmission. We need a strategic investor."