New interconnections open electricity highways to Europe for the Baltic countries

New interconnections open electricity highways to Europe for the Baltic countries

Two new international electricity interconnections, the LitPol Link and NordBalt, have placed Lithuania and the Baltic countries firmly back on the map of Europe’s electricity grid. A new energy victory, symbolically commemorated end of 2015.

“Over the past five years, we’ve gained invaluable experience, while simultaneously implementing two strategic projects involving high technology, which is the first of its kind in the Lithuanian grid. We’ve accomplished the huge NordBalt and LitPol Link projects with like-minded partners in Poland and Sweden, and our unity and trust in each other is an example for all Europe: by co-operating with neighbours, we can create a single and sustainable energy market in the EU”, Daivis Virbickas, CEO and Board Chairman of Lithuanian electricity transmission system operator, Litgrid, declared.

Lithuania is connected to Poland and Sweden, using high voltage direct currents. This technology is designed to connect asynchronous grids, transmit power over long distances with lower losses, and control electricity flows.

According to Mr. Virbickas, LitPol Link and NordBalt have removed the last infrastructure barriers in the Baltic region, and now, all efforts are being aimed at new ambitious goals - single electricity market projects, and the synchronisation of the Baltic countries with the electricity system of Western Europe.

The construction of both interconnections will be the single largest investment in the Lithuanian electricity system since the re-establishment of independence. By 2020, the demand for electricity in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia will rise by 1.1% annually. As soon as the NordBalt and LitPol Link begin to be fully operative, the opportunities of Baltic countries to transmit electricity from their neighbours will increase by one-third.

The LitPol Link is the new supply source of up to 500 MW, available in the Lithuanian bidding area of the Nord Pool Spot.

“Both Poland and Lithuania have enhanced their energy security through the ability to import and export power. The increase of transmission capacity of cross-border interconnections is extremely important, considering the security of supply”, Henryk Majchrzak, President of the Management Board of the Polish electricity transmission system operator, PSE, stressed. . “A reliable infrastructure, being the platform for uninterrupted exchange, and supply of electricity is the key element of the modern state, because it is determining its economic growth”, Mr. Majchrzak added.

The NordBalt system tests will determine the secure exploitation of the interconnection for the next 30 years. The Lithuanian and Swedish interconnection control centres are 450 km apart – one in Klaipėda, and the other in Nybro.

“I am happy to recognise that we are now fulfilling a dream of the early 90s, creating a Baltic Ring that electrically connects the states surrounding the Baltic Sea. This contributes to the independence of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, but also enables us to utilise the combined production resources in the Nordic-Baltic region, in a more efficient way, for the benefit of both welfare and the environment”, Mikael Odenberg, CEO and Board Chairman of the Swedish electricity transmission system operator, Svenska kraftnät, pointed out. .

The Lithuanian-Polish interconnection: the LitPol Link 

With a capacity of 500 MW, the LitPol Link completes the electricity ring of the Baltic region. The 400 kV overhead power line extends 163 km through the districts of Alytus and Lazdijai in Lithuania, and Podlachia, Warmia, and Mazury in Poland. The project investment in Poland amounted to 430 million EUR, and almost half of it was financed by the EU. In Lithuania, all works related to the interconnection received 150 million EUR, and the EU contribution was 31.4 million EUR. The first Lithuania-Poland interconnection project was implemented by Litgrid and PSE, Lithuania and Poland’s respective electricity transmission system operators.

About the Lithuanian-Swedish interconnection NordBalt 

With a capacity of 700 MW, NordBalt can cover almost half of the electricity demand on a warm (temperature) winter’s day in Lithuania. The coasts of Lithuania and Sweden were connected by a 400km high voltage direct current submarine cable. Another 53 km of cable is installed underground - in Lithuania directed at Klaipėda, and in Sweden reaching Nybro. The project investment is 550 million EUR. The EU invested 131 million EUR, and Lithuania and Sweden split equally, the remaining amount. The first Lithuanian-Swedish energy project was implemented by Litgrid and Svenska kraftnät, the respective Lithuanian and Swedish electricity transmission system operators.

Vilija Railaitė - Head of Communications, Litgrid, CEEP member