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NordBalt Cable Laying Begins in the Baltic Sea
2014-04-11

NordBalt Cable Laying Begins in the Baltic Sea

On April 11 a special ship that arrived at the Baltic Sea coast early in the morning laid the first meters of submarine cables through the prepared pipes leading towards the Curonian Spit, and began one of the major stages of constructing a 450-kilometre-long international power link – laying the cable across the bottom of the Baltic Sea.
 
“Another tangible stage of work of power link with Sweden has started. When the operation of the link will begin at the end of 2015, the possibilities of electricity imports into the Baltic countries will increase more than one-third. The sharp increase of the possibilities of importing electricity from the Nordic countries would affect both electricity market players and consumers: statistics show that the average monthly price of electricity on the Scandinavian power exchange is lower than in Latvia and Lithuania”, said the miniser of Energy Jaroslav Neverovic.
 
The strategic project is implemented jointly by Litgrid and Swedish electricity transmission system operator Svenska Kraftnät. The first meters of the cables laid a powerful and modern ship Topaz Installer. She commenced the work in Lithuanian territorial waters, about 600 meters off Curonian Spit near Alksnyne. Later, as she continues to lay the cable, the ship designed for submarine cable installation will go further out into the Baltic Sea towards Sweden.
 
“With the help of a built-in lowering system, two 300-kilovolt direct current power cables were lowered from the ship’s stern. Divers lowered them to the seabed and successfully inserted them into the two pipes that were drilled under the Baltic Sea last autumn and stretched 800 meters toward the shore. Through these steel pipes, cables were pulled out on the Baltic Sea coast”, - said Karolis Sankovski, a member of the Litgrid Board and Director of the Strategic Infrastructure Department.
 
As she lays cables towards Sweden, Topaz Installer will work all day without breaks. The greatest influence on her work will be the weather conditions and sea waves. Submarine cable laying works have been specially planned for the time, when the chance of storms is smallest. The special tracking systems constantly monitor cable laying and, if necessary, the laying process is adjusted. The first 50 kilometres of the power link NordBalt cable are scheduled to be laid in 11 days.
 
The power link construction works are carried out by Swedish technology company ABB, which in mid-April will also begin the construction of 13 kilometres of land cable from Curonian Spit in Klaipeda County. Cables will be connected to the DC converter of the Klaipeda 330-kilovolt transformer substation, the reconstruction of which will be completed this year.
 
All preparations for the 450-kilometer-long link NordBalt track, including detailed route surveys, have been carried out since 2009. The first stage of cabling will last from April to September. It is planned that during the warm period of the year when the storming at the Baltic Sea is at its lowest, the Swedish technology company ABB will lay up to 250 kilometres of connection towards Sweden. Cable-laying work will continue next year in spring.
 
This year, four runs of cable-laying vessels are expected. Topaz Installer in three runs will lay a total of 150 kilometres of the power connection. The new and very modern ship Lewec Connector will lay the longest 100 km Nord Balt section. These great submarine cable-laying vessels will be supplemented by another ship with special equipment that will perform flushing the cable into the Baltic Sea.
 
The capacity of the future electric bridge will reach 700 megawatts; the total estimated value of the project is LTL 1.9 billion. The project is funded by Lithuania, Sweden and the European Union.
 
The gallery of pictures is here.
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