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Litgrid focused on European integration strategy throughout 2016

Litgrid focused on European integration strategy throughout 2016

Throughout 2016 Litgrid, the electricity transmission system operator, focused on the transmission grid enhancement and preparations for synchronisation: new lines were planned and constructed, and preparations were made for the future challenges of system operation. 
“Synchronisation of the power system with the Continental European network is a part of the national energy strategy, and Litgrid is in charge of implementing this strategic objective. We have been working consistently over this complex project that requires technical, engineering and information technology solutions. This year, progress has been achieved in the preparations for synchronisation, in particular, in the areas of grid development and feasibility studies”, says Daivis Virbickas, CEO of Litgrid, the electricity transmission system operator. 
The report of the study by Joint Research Centre, initiated by the European Commission and analysing the possible alternatives of the Baltic power systems’ synchronisation with the European systems, is expected in the beginning of 2017. Since 1998 this is the seventh international study of the Baltic and Western European electricity systems integration. 
In order to prepare for synchronous operation within the Continental European network, a second Lithuania-Poland power link will have to be constructed. LitPol Link that has been in operation since the beginning of the year is the only power link connecting the Baltic countries with the grids of Continental Europe. There should be at least two such links to ensure long-term reliable power systems operation on completion of the synchronisation projects. With this aim in view, Litgrid and PSE, the Polish transmission system operator, have been analysing possible routes for the second Lithuania-Poland power link. According to the study results, the new electricity transmission line could start near Marijampolė. The results of the study will be presented at the beginning of 2017. 
Domestic grid development projects are essential for ensuring an efficient electricity exchange on the power market. In the autumn of 2016, construction of a transmission line that will connect Alytus and Kruonis Hydro Pumped Storage Plant has been started. The line forms an integral part of the Lithuanian-Polish grid interconnection project and enables a better use of the opportunities provided by LitPol Link on completion of the synchronisation project. The Alytus-Kruonis line is also important while planning the second Lithuania-Poland power link.
“The capacity of the transmission line of LitPol Link is 1,000 megawatts already now. Re-orienting the Baltic countries’ power systems for synchronous operation in the Continental European network will enable this interconnection to be used at maximum capacity. The new Alytus-Kruonis line will serve the purpose of synchronisation as well”, says Daivis Virbickas.
Proper preparation for the transition between synchronous areas requires strengthening of two vital points in the electricity transmission grid: the Vilnius hub and the north-eastern part of Lithuania‘s grid. The demand for power capacity in the Vilnius Region, which accounts for about one-third of the country‘s total consumption, is growing, therefore, the transmission grid in the area of the capital must be reinforced. The north-eastern Lithuanian grid remains highly integrated with the Byelorussian energy system. Reconstructing and optimising of the grid in this part of the country will lead to a more flexible operation of the national power system. An analysis of both regions’ grid optimisation opportunities was made in 2016.
While preparing for the synchronisation, Litgrid‘s system control specialists working jointly with their Latvian and Estonian counterparts plan to carry out an isolated operation test. During the test, Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian power system will be disconnected from all the neighbouring systems (Russian, Byelorussian, Finnish, Swedish and Polish) for a short while, and the electricity demand in the three Baltic countries will be supplied solely by the local electricity generation sources. Preparatory works in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have been started studying the dynamic and static stability of the system. 
Synchronous operation of the Baltic countries’ power systems with the Continental European network is the strategic project in the power sector, leading to a full European integration. At the end of 2015, LitPol Link and NordBalt – Lithuania‘s power links with Poland and Sweden, connected the Baltic countries with the Nordic and Western European electricity grids and markets for the first time. However, the Baltic power system still remains interdependent with the East. Aligning the technological and regulatory requirements, and synchronising system operation with the Continental Europe will enable full-fledged European integration of the electricity systems and markets.
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