Sweden starts up oil-fired power plant to alleviate Polish crunch

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OSLO, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Sweden has started up a back-up oil-fired power plant to help ease an electricity shortage in neighbouring Poland, Swedish transmission system operator Svenska Kraftnaet (SvK) said on Monday.

Analysis has shown that Poland faced a power shortage of up to 1,700 megawatt (MW) on Monday and requested help from its neighbours, SvK said in a statement.

"Therefore Sweden will make the capacity of the Karlshamnsverket power plant available on Poland's behalf," it added.

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Although Sweden itself faced high demand on Monday, it would be able to support Poland "if nothing unforeseen happens", it added.

Poland's grid operator PSE confirmed that the country was facing difficulties in balancing the system on Monday due to low wind generation and outages of several units.

"The balance shortage relates to the inability to meet the required level of power reserves," the operator's spokeswoman Beata Jarosz-Dziekanowska told Reuters in an e-mailed statement.

"At PSE's request, help was provided by system operators from Lithuania, Sweden, Germany and Ukraine. Thanks to this, it is possible to balance the system and keep the required levels of power reserves," she added.

There was a risk of a further deterioration and the system would remain under pressure on Tuesday as well, Jarosz-Dziekanowska added.

As of 1315 GMT, Polish generation capacity stood at 24,944 MW, compared with demand of 26,267 MW. Imports are helping to cover the shortfall, according to PSE data.

Karlshamnsverket, located in south-eastern Sweden, is operated by utility Uniper (UN01.DE) and has a capacity of 622 MW, of which 562 MW form Sweden's winter reserve every year between Nov. 16 and March 15, according to Uniper's website.

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Reporting by Nora Buli; Additional reporting by Anna Koper in Warsaw; Editing by Terje Solsvik and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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