Litgrid is implementing one of its strategic projects – NordBalt. This power link is a prerequisite for the common Baltic – Nordic electricity market. The future electricity bridge will enable Lithuania to purchase electricity from Northern European countries that are rich in hydro energy resources.
NordBalt will be an alternative channel for electricity import and export that will help Lithuania avoid dependence on the sole supplier in the East. The strategic power project is implemented by Litgrid, the Lithuanian transmission system operator, and Svenska Kraftnät, the Swedish transmission system operator. The construction works were completed in late autumn, 2015.
The purpose of the NordBalt project is to construct an intersystem power link connecting the Lithuanian and Swedish power transmission systems. The length of the 700 MW link is about 450 km. The link will be formed of high-voltage direct-current undersea and underground cables and of current converter stations in Lithuania and Sweden.
High-voltage direct current (HVDC) undersea cable. Cable length: approx. 400 km
High-voltage direct current (HVDC) underground cable (on the Lithuanian side). Cable length: 13 km
High-voltage direct current (HVDC) underground cable (on the Swedish side). Cable length: 40 km
Link capacity: 700 MW
Estimated service life: 30 years
Estimated project cost: LTL 1.9 billion
Connection point in Lithuania: 330 kV Klaipėda substation. Connection point in Sweden: 400 kV Nybro substation.
On 18 March 2010, Lietuvos energija AB and Affärsverket Svenska Kraftnät concluded an agreement on collaboration in the implementation of NordBalt project. The agreement provides for the parties‘ collaboration in the design and construction phases and for the separate ownership of the infrastructure created as a result of the project: Lietuvos energija will own the direct current converter at the Klaipėda transformer substation (TS), the cable from the Klaipėda TS to the sea, and 50% of the undersea cable. The other part of the undersea cable and the link infrastructure on the Swedish side will be owned by Svenska Kraftnät. The agreement stipulates the financing provisions and the conditions of use of the EU assistance funds amounting to EUR 131 million (LTL 452.3 million).
On 31 March 2010, the technical specifications for the NordBalt cables and converters and other procurement documentation were sent to tenderers selected in the prequalification procedure.
On 5 August 2010, the European Commission approved the EU funding of EUR 131 million for the NordBalt project.
On 6 September 2010, tenders for the supply of the NordBalt converters and cables were received from potential contractors.
On 17 December 2010 in Vilnius, Svenska Kraftnät and Litgrid, the Swedish and the Lithuanian TSOs, concluded a contract with ABB, a Swedish energy and automation technology company, for the manufacture and installation of a 300 kV HVDC cable for the NordBalt link. The value of the contract is EUR 270 million (LTL 932 million).
On 20 December 2010, a contract for the construction of the converter stations for NordBalt with the winner of an international tendering procedure. Under the contract, ABB will manufacture and install the converter stations for NordBalt at Nybro and Klaipėda. The value of the contract is EUR 147 million (LTL 507 million).
The international tendering procedure organised by Svenska Kraftnät and Litgrid, the Swedish and the Lithuanian TSOs, involved Swedish, German and French companies and were conducted according to the Swedish public procurement law. The decision on conducting the tendering procedure in Sweden was adopted because Sweden has vast experience in organising international tenders of such scale, and the Swedish legal framework and public procurement procedures are considered to be among the most transparent in the world.
In 2011, a territorial planning document (a special plan) was completed and preparation of technical designs for the cable and the converters was started. The start of construction of the converter stations in Lithuania and Sweden is scheduled for the second half of 2013 and the laying of the cables in the first half of 2013.
On 20 June 2011, the first trial undersea cable was produced and mechanical testing was started.
In July 2011, designing of the converter station was started.
In October 2011, designing for the installation of the cable in Lithuania was started.
On 15 December 2011, serial production of the undersea cable was started.
On 28 February 2012, the special plan on the construction of the NordBalt link in the Klaipėda County was completed and submitted to the Republic of Lithuania Ministry of Energy for approval.
Manufacture of the undersea cable for the NordBalt Link took place in Sweden throughout 2012. About 100 km of the cable were produced. 900 km cable will be produced and laid on the seabed in 2014 and 2015.
In April 2012, the Minister of Energy approved the special plan for the construction of the NordBalt Link in the Klaipėda County.
In May 2012, Litgrid finished paying compensations under servitude establishment agreements to land owners whose property falls within the route of construction of the NordBalt Link. For the remaining land owners, servitudes were established by the National Land Service by administrative deeds.
In October 2012, the technical design for the Klaipėda converter substation for the NordBalt Link was completed. The building permit for the substation was received in January 2013.
In November – December 2012, additional Baltic seabed studies were conducted at the projected points of intersection between the NordBalt Link and the existing cables, gas pipelines and other infrastructure.
In December 2012, the technical design for the NordBalt Link cable in the territory of Lithuania was completed and application for a building permit was filed.
Throughout 2012, rehabilitation of the Klaipėda transformer substation which is included in the NordBalt project and works on the 330 kV Klaipėda – Telšiai line in Telšiai and Plungė districts were carried out.
On 7 March 2013, the Government of the Republic of Lithuania approved of the construction of the NordBalt link cable in the coastal area and the special economic zone. This decision was vital for obtaining the building permit.
In November 2013, the preparatory construction works of the power cable NordBalt were successfully accomplished: horizontal drilling was done under the Curonian Lagoon and on the shore of the Baltic Sea and two pipes were laid for installing NordBalt power cables in spring 2014.
On 11 April 2014, the submarine cable-laying vessel Topaz Installer laid the first meters of electric cable in the Baltic Sea. Through steel pipes, that stretch 800 meters, cables were pulled out on the Baltic Sea coast. Four runs of vessels are expected from April to September; they will lay up to 250 km, that is more than a half of NordBalt link.
In May-June 2014 the construction works on the land were started in Klaipėda District. The 13 kilometers route was prepared from the Klaipėda transformer substation. Horizontal drilling was carried under road and railway tracks; in other places the trenches were excavated.
Technical specifications for the tendering procedures for the NordBalt link‘s converter stations and stations were prepared by Vattenfall Power Consultants as ordered by Svenska Kraftnät, the Swedish transmission system operator.
Investigations of the Baltic seabed for the NordBalt Link were conducted by Marin Mätteknik AB. The final report was submitted on 18 December 2009.
Harmonic measurements and calculations of harmonic resistances at the Klaipėda TS were made by STRI AB.
The territorial planning document for the territory of Lithuania was prepared by Sweco Lietuva UAB.