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The following questions and answers describe the nature and details of the synchronization of the Baltic states’ power system with the continental European synchronous area.


The purpose of synchronization is to bring the Baltic states into a synchronous area governed by EU law. Currently the frequency regulation reserves are based in Russia. As the control of the area is located outside the EU, third countries have the capability of influencing the physical energy streams in the Baltic states and any developments in a grid not governed by EU law could potentially reduce transmission capacities usable on the electricity market in the Baltics. After synchronizing with the continental European electricity system, the Baltic states will develop the capability to manage their own electricity system, including frequency and power streams. Through synchronization, we also achieve control of the development of the power grid and avoid inessential investments connected with third countries.


To join the continental European frequency area, the power grid and control systems within the Baltics must be strengthened. The existing Lithuanian-Polish connection must be taken into use as an alternating-current connection and, in addition, a direct-current sea cable between Poland and Lithuania must be established. The investments necessary for synchronization have been divided into several phases. In the first phase, the internal power grid in the Baltics will be strengthened. The investments in subsequent phases include equipment necessary for regulating frequency as well as investments into establishing connections between Lithuania and Poland.


The largest part of the investments will be made on renovation of the transmission lines that originate in the Narva area and lead via Valga to Latvia. The power grid’s control system must also be renovated, and equipment for regulating voltage and frequency must be constructed. The establishment of the third electricity connection between Estonia and Latvia is currently under way to strengthen the north-south power grid between Estonia and Latvia.


In future, we must understand and be able to control the frequency regulation process even better without error. Among other things, we need full clarity as regards how the power plants operating in Estonia will respond to changes in frequency. We must develop operational management of the electricity system in a situation where the frequency control is our responsibility. We must refine models that describe the power system and its behaviour so that they would be the most accurate possible reflection of our system.

 

 


For the current connections between Baltics and Russia-Belarus to be used after the synchronization with the continental European electricity systems, noteworthy investments would have to be made into converter substations (e.g. Back-to-Back converters). The need for establishing such converter substations and how costs will be covered is to be agreed on in a later phase of the project.

 


In connection with the change in principles for regulating frequency after synchronization, TSOs will develop the need to procure from local service providers additional system services needed for maintaining the frequency. To this point, TSOs have primarily purchased manually activated regulation service from market participants. After synchronization with continental Europe, automatic regulation service will also have to be procured from local producers In addition, the existence of sufficient inertia will have to be ensured in the system, which will help ensure stability of the frequency. Inertia is provided for a system by both power plants based on rotating generators and equipment specially built for that purpose – synchronous condensers. Details of the system services to be purchased will be determined in later phases of the synchronization projects. The objective of the TSOs is to find solutions that would ensure the required security of supply at the least cost for the consumer.

 


It isn’t out of the question that automated systems will have to be supplemented at the existing power plants to make them ready for regulation of frequency and damping of oscillations. Power plants have the obligation to comply with all requirements that were in force at the time of their construction, but all costs required to reconfigure or renovate a power plant compared to the requirements in force at the time of construction will be financed by the TSO.

 


The Baltic states’ TSOs have set the goal of achieving readiness for synchronization with the continental European frequency area by the end of 2025. Synchronization requires the necessary investments to be made into the power grid and readiness for controlling the Baltic power system as a separate frequency area if necessary.

 


The total expenses on the synchronization project have not yet been finalized. The volume of the first investment phase has been agreed – 432 million euros, of which Estonia’s share is 188 million euros. The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is putting up 75% of the cost of the first phase. The details and cost of the investments in the next phases will be determined over the coming years. As a key part of the synchronization project investments is covered by the EU, the financial contribution made by Estonian electricity consumers toward the synchronization project will be reduced. Our estimate is that synchronization will not cause an increase in Elering’s rate for transmission of power. In the long term, expenses related to synchronization are lower than the costs the Baltic states would have to absorb is they remained a part of the unified Russian power system.


The purpose of synchronization is to bring the Baltic states into a synchronous area governed by EU law. Currently the frequency regulation reserves are based in Russia. As the control of the area is located outside the EU, third countries have the capability of influencing the physical energy streams in the Baltic states and any developments in a grid not governed by EU law could potentially reduce transmission capacities usable on the electricity market in the Baltics. After synchronizing with the continental European electricity system, the Baltic states will develop the capability to manage their own electricity system, including frequency and power streams. Through synchronization, we also achieve control of the development of the power grid and avoid inessential investments connected with third countries.


To join the continental European frequency area, the power grid and control systems within the Baltics must be strengthened. The existing Lithuanian-Polish connection must be taken into use as an alternating-current connection and, in addition, a direct-current sea cable between Poland and Lithuania must be established. The investments necessary for synchronization have been divided into several phases. In the first phase, the internal power grid in the Baltics will be strengthened. The investments in subsequent phases include equipment necessary for regulating frequency as well as investments into establishing connections between Lithuania and Poland.


The largest part of the investments will be made on renovation of the transmission lines that originate in the Narva area and lead via Valga to Latvia. The power grid’s control system must also be renovated, and equipment for regulating voltage and frequency must be constructed. The establishment of the third electricity connection between Estonia and Latvia is currently under way to strengthen the north-south power grid between Estonia and Latvia.


In future, we must understand and be able to control the frequency regulation process even better without error. Among other things, we need full clarity as regards how the power plants operating in Estonia will respond to changes in frequency. We must develop operational management of the electricity system in a situation where the frequency control is our responsibility. We must refine models that describe the power system and its behaviour so that they would be the most accurate possible reflection of our system.

 

 


For the current connections between Baltics and Russia-Belarus to be used after the synchronization with the continental European electricity systems, noteworthy investments would have to be made into converter substations (e.g. Back-to-Back converters). The need for establishing such converter substations and how costs will be covered is to be agreed on in a later phase of the project.

 


In connection with the change in principles for regulating frequency after synchronization, TSOs will develop the need to procure from local service providers additional system services needed for maintaining the frequency. To this point, TSOs have primarily purchased manually activated regulation service from market participants. After synchronization with continental Europe, automatic regulation service will also have to be procured from local producers In addition, the existence of sufficient inertia will have to be ensured in the system, which will help ensure stability of the frequency. Inertia is provided for a system by both power plants based on rotating generators and equipment specially built for that purpose – synchronous condensers. Details of the system services to be purchased will be determined in later phases of the synchronization projects. The objective of the TSOs is to find solutions that would ensure the required security of supply at the least cost for the consumer.

 


It isn’t out of the question that automated systems will have to be supplemented at the existing power plants to make them ready for regulation of frequency and damping of oscillations. Power plants have the obligation to comply with all requirements that were in force at the time of their construction, but all costs required to reconfigure or renovate a power plant compared to the requirements in force at the time of construction will be financed by the TSO.

 


The Baltic states’ TSOs have set the goal of achieving readiness for synchronization with the continental European frequency area by the end of 2025. Synchronization requires the necessary investments to be made into the power grid and readiness for controlling the Baltic power system as a separate frequency area if necessary.

 


The total expenses on the synchronization project have not yet been finalized. The volume of the first investment phase has been agreed – 432 million euros, of which Estonia’s share is 188 million euros. The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is putting up 75% of the cost of the first phase. The details and cost of the investments in the next phases will be determined over the coming years. As a key part of the synchronization project investments is covered by the EU, the financial contribution made by Estonian electricity consumers toward the synchronization project will be reduced. Our estimate is that synchronization will not cause an increase in Elering’s rate for transmission of power. In the long term, expenses related to synchronization are lower than the costs the Baltic states would have to absorb is they remained a part of the unified Russian power system.

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