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Current situation

The power system of the Baltic States is currently technically part of the Integrated Power System / Unified Power System (IPS/UPS) of Russia. The frequency, which is the most important parameter of a power system, is currently controlled by Russia.  Taking into account Baltic power systems plans of de-synchronisation, Russia has finalised reinforcement of the Russian internal transmission network (incl. Kaliningrad region) considering the scenario of Baltics power systems de-synchronisation from the IPS/UPS system. As Baltics are still the part of IPS/UPS system, Russian power system has capability to influence physical and commercial energy flows in the Baltic States.

What we are doing

The strategic goal and big challenge of the Baltic States is to disconnect their power systems from the Integrated Power System / Unified Power System (IPS/UPS) of Russia and join the Continental European power grid and frequency area.

Why we are doing it

The transition to synchronous operation with the Continental European frequency area allows us to reduce the risk that third parties could use our dependence on the IPS/UPS and the respective frequency area.
Baltic states as EU members are a part of the Western Europe both politically, legally and socioeconomically, it would make sense if our power system functioned as an organic part of the Continental European frequency area in the technical field. We want to be with the partners with whom we share the same values and financial/legal/regulatory framework. Functioning as a part of larger synchronous area reduces also operational risks and associated costs.

Formal steps towards synchronization

The Political Roadmap for Synchronisation has been signed by Baltic States, Poland and European Commission in June 2018. The same year, The Transmission System Operators (TSO) of the Baltic States Elering (EST), AST (LAT) and Litgrid (LIT) submitted application for connecting to the Continental European frequency area. Connection agreement between Baltic and continental Europe TSOs has been signed in May 2019, including identification of technical requirements, obliged for secure and stable synchronisation. Transition to synchronous operation with the frequency area of Continental Europe will be finished by the end of 2025.

How it will happen

Changing the synchronous area will be unnoticeable to the electricity end-consumers. In order to join the Continental Europe frequency area, the existing direct current interconnection between Lithuania and Poland – LitPol Link – will be upgraded into an alternating current interconnection and a direct current sub-sea cable of 700 MW capacity will be constructed between Lithuania and Poland. At the same time, the Baltic States are planning to disconnect (or decommission) their existing alternating current interconnections with Russia and Belarus.

synch map 29.05.2020

Grid reinforcement and frequency stability

The existing power grid inside the Baltic States will be reinforced and the interconnection capacities of their power system increased.
To ensure frequency stability, the system inertia in Baltic power systems should be provided 24 hours per day, therefore synchronous condensers will be constructed and the protection and control systems of the grid as well as direct current links will be upgraded. 

Investments and financing

The total cost of the synchronisation process is estimated around 1.6 billion euros. The process consists of two phases. The first phase of the project consists of internal network reinforcement in the Baltic States. €430 million phase one package was approved by European Commission in 2019. The Commission is going to cover 75% of the phase one investments.
The second phase in amount of 1.2 billion euros consists construction of the direct current link between Lithuania and Poland with the relevant network reinforcement in both countries, installation of synchronous condensers in all three Baltic states, as well as upgrade of the existing direct current interconnectors and the protection and control systems of the grid. The application for the second phase grant will be submitted to the European Commission in May 2020.

Energy trade

Energy trading possibilities with Continental Europe will be increased after synchronization as the new sub-sea interconnector between Lithuania and Poland will be serving commercial power flows.
Since there will be no physical connections between the Baltics and Russia/Belarus, energy trade between those regions will not be possible any more.

Socio-economic impact

The synchronization will increase security of supply for consumers and control over the energy system for the Baltic societies as a whole. The economic value of increased security of supply, as reduced risk of disruptions, greatly exceeds the cost of synchronisation project.
The additional costs to the electricity consumer caused by synchronization are minimal as the necessary investments are substantially supported by the European Union.

New opportunities for market participants

New products need to be launched to ensure the readiness to run the power system smoothly at all times. Energy market participants will have the opportunity to provide the system operators with variety of the energy market services for reasonable price necessary for system stability management and frequency regulation in the power grid. Such new services are for example frequency containment reserve and automatic frequency restoration reserve. Procurement of new reserve products will assure that the flexibility is adequately valued on the electricity markets.

Renovation of the Baltic-Tartu-Valmiera 330 kV overhead line

Renovation timetable:

  • Renovation of Baltic-Tartu (L300) 2020-2022
  • Renovation of Tartu-Valmiera (L301) 2022-2024

Lines L300/L301 together with lines L353/L354 form a parallel line corridor between Estonia and Latvia. The renovation of the lines is necessary to reinforce the connections between the Estonian electricity system and the rest of the electricity system in order to create preconditions for synchronous operation with the European electricity system. Upon desynchronization from the Russian power system, the capacity of the power grid between Latvia and Estonia will decrease as the entirety of the capacity transmitted between Estonia and Latvia will be distributed to solely the lines between Estonia and Latvia and there will be no option of routing a part of the capacity flows through the Russian grid. To preserve capacity at the current level and avoid limitations on north-south transit, it will be necessary to increase the capacity of the existing overhead lines. Overall, following synchronization, we will end up with a grid that is at least as strong and completely do away with the influence of third countries on intermarket trading in the Baltic states.

Renovation of the Viru-Tsirguliina-Valmiera 330 kV overhead line

Renovation timetable:

  • Renovation of the Viru-Tsirguliina (L353) line 2023-2025
  • Replacement of conductor and trimming the clearance corridor was carried out in 2015 on a 11.48-kilometre segment of the part of the Tsirguliina-Valmiera (L354) line located on Estonian soil. The complete renovation of the line on Latvian soil is planned for the same interval as the renovation of Viru-Tsirguliina (2023-2025)

Lines L300/L301 together with lines L353/L354 form a parallel line corridor between Estonia and Latvia. The renovation of the lines is necessary to reinforce the connections between the Estonian electricity system and the rest of the electricity system in order to create preconditions for synchronous operation with the European electricity system. Upon desynchronization from the Russian power system, the capacity of the power grid between Latvia and Estonia will decrease as the entirety of the capacity transmitted between Estonia and Latvia will be distributed to solely the lines between Estonia and Latvia and there will be no option of routing a part of the capacity flows through the Russian grid. To preserve capacity at the current level and avoid limitations on north-south transit, it will be necessary to increase the capacity of the existing overhead lines. Overall, following synchronization, we will end up with a grid that is at least as strong and completely do away with the influence of third countries on intermarket trading in the Baltic states.

 

Renovation of the Baltic-Tartu-Valmiera 330 kV overhead line

Renovation timetable:

  • Renovation of Baltic-Tartu (L300) 2020-2022
  • Renovation of Tartu-Valmiera (L301) 2022-2024

Lines L300/L301 together with lines L353/L354 form a parallel line corridor between Estonia and Latvia. The renovation of the lines is necessary to reinforce the connections between the Estonian electricity system and the rest of the electricity system in order to create preconditions for synchronous operation with the European electricity system. Upon desynchronization from the Russian power system, the capacity of the power grid between Latvia and Estonia will decrease as the entirety of the capacity transmitted between Estonia and Latvia will be distributed to solely the lines between Estonia and Latvia and there will be no option of routing a part of the capacity flows through the Russian grid. To preserve capacity at the current level and avoid limitations on north-south transit, it will be necessary to increase the capacity of the existing overhead lines. Overall, following synchronization, we will end up with a grid that is at least as strong and completely do away with the influence of third countries on intermarket trading in the Baltic states.

Renovation of the Viru-Tsirguliina-Valmiera 330 kV overhead line

Renovation timetable:

  • Renovation of the Viru-Tsirguliina (L353) line 2023-2025
  • Replacement of conductor and trimming the clearance corridor was carried out in 2015 on a 11.48-kilometre segment of the part of the Tsirguliina-Valmiera (L354) line located on Estonian soil. The complete renovation of the line on Latvian soil is planned for the same interval as the renovation of Viru-Tsirguliina (2023-2025)

Lines L300/L301 together with lines L353/L354 form a parallel line corridor between Estonia and Latvia. The renovation of the lines is necessary to reinforce the connections between the Estonian electricity system and the rest of the electricity system in order to create preconditions for synchronous operation with the European electricity system. Upon desynchronization from the Russian power system, the capacity of the power grid between Latvia and Estonia will decrease as the entirety of the capacity transmitted between Estonia and Latvia will be distributed to solely the lines between Estonia and Latvia and there will be no option of routing a part of the capacity flows through the Russian grid. To preserve capacity at the current level and avoid limitations on north-south transit, it will be necessary to increase the capacity of the existing overhead lines. Overall, following synchronization, we will end up with a grid that is at least as strong and completely do away with the influence of third countries on intermarket trading in the Baltic states.

 

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