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One power link may be sufficient for synchronisation
2017-03-21

One power link may be sufficient for synchronisation

One LitPol Link interconnection may be sufficient for synchronisation of the Baltic countries’ power systems with the Continental European Network, provided systems are prepared to operate in an isolated mode safely. As soon as the decision to synchronise through the already existing Lithuanian-Polish interconnection is taken, the official application to ENTSO-E to issue the binding technical conditions for synchronisation could be filed, which in fact serves as the start of implementation of the synchronisation project. 
 
LitPol Link, the Lithuania–Poland interconnection that has been in operation since 2015, has a double-circuit line with a maximum transmission capacity of 1, 000 megawatts (MW) each. The LitPol Link converter station, which has a capacity of 500 MW, will be switched to the Alytus–Grodno line after synchronisation with the continental European network so it can ensure electricity exchange with the asynchronous power system of Belarus. 
 
“Specialist calculations and expert assessments show that upon ensuring reliable and stable operation of the Baltic power systems in isolation and having thoroughly tested this mode of operation, the interconnection with Poland that is already in operation would be sufficient,” said Litgrid CEO Daivis Virbickas. 
 
Isolated operation testing of the Baltic power systems is planned for 2018. During the testing, all of the lines in the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian electricity network that link to Russia and Belarus will be temporarily disconnected. The Baltic TSOs are currently conducting a study to identify the technical conditions required for isolated operation testing of the Baltic power systems. The study will be completed by the end of this summer, and the results will be made public. 
 
“A second LitPol Link interconnection remains in the plans of the transmission system operators; it may materialise after synchronisation of the Baltic countries and the Continental European Network is already a fait accompli. The decision on the implementation of this project should be determined by the growing Baltic electricity demand and a cost-benefit analysis of the project,” said Mr Virbickas. 
 
Statistics show growing electricity demand in the Baltics the last few years. Power consumption growth in Lithuania in 2016 was the highest in 25 years. Electricity consumption in Latvia and Estonia also increased. The forecasts show that by 2026, the Baltic countries will remain among the few countries in Europe with growing electricity demand. Unclear development of local generation in the Baltic region over the next decade encourages to search for economically and environmentally attractive infrastructure connections that can help meet the growing electricity needs.
 
Before making any final decisions on the infrastructure projects that are necessary for synchronisation, the conclusive results of a study conducted by the Joint Research Centre on behalf of the European Commission will need to be received, as will a political agreement with Poland as a supporting party. 
 
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