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LitPol Link’s construction starts in Alytus

LitPol Link’s construction starts in Alytus

On 5 of May the district of Alytus in Lithuania has officially announced the start of the construction of a power link between Lithuania and Poland, LitPol Link.  The construction works will start this year and continue next year. LitPol Link will be put into operation at the end of December 2015.
Time capsule containing letter for future generations was buried at the link's construction site. The ceremony was attended by Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė, Lithuanian Minister of Energy Jaroslav Neverovič, the mayors of Alytus and Lazdijai districts municipalities, the representatives of Polish municipalities and other guests.
“Preparatory works for building LitPol Link took five years. A great deal of work was done during this period: all construction permits were obtained, special plans were developed, environmental  impact assessment studies were carried out in Lithuania and Poland, easement agreements with landowners were signed and compensations for landowners in Lithuania were paid out, agreements with contractors which were selected through tenders on public procurement were signed, the route for the power link prepared, and the reconstruction of transformer substations launched. Both Lithuania and Poland earmarked additional investment for boosting the capacity of the power transmission grid to make use of all possibilities of power exchange offered by LitPol Link. We have managed to overcome all drawbacks and do a great deal of work thanks to our teamwork, the appreciation and understanding of local residents, and close cooperation between Lithuanian and Polish energy specialists, municipalities and state institutions. We are calling LitPol Link Lithuania’s “energy window” to Europe. I want to assure you that we will be moving forward and work closely together so that the LitPol Link project is finished in time,” stated Lithuanian  Minister of Energy Jaroslav Neverovič.
LitPol Link will enable Lithuania to achieve one of the country's top political priorities – to gain energy independence from the eastern neighbours and integrate the Lithuanian energy system into European networks. 
"Two power links in different directions – one with Western Europe and the other with Scandinavia – will help Lithuania to establish itself as a full-fledged partner among European power suppliers and become an electricity exchange hub between the East and the West.  By taking part in the construction of this energy infrastructure and the implementation of one of the EU energy policy priorities we contribute to the creation of a common European electricity market and the elimination of “energy islands”. The biggest benefit that Lithuania may expect from LitPol Link is the security and reliability of electricity supplies and the possibility of exchanging electricity with western European countries," Daivis Virbickas, Board Chairman and CEO of Litgrid, which is implementing the project, said at the ceremony.  
The LitPol Link project is part of BEMIP, which provides for the connection of the energy systems of the Baltic Sea region countries by 2015 and the elimination of "energy islands" in the European Union.  
The cross-border project of European importance, LitPol Link was initiated more than ten years ago.  This involved political negotiations, designing and coordination works, debates and obtaining permission from landowners and residents to install power lines.   
LitPol Link consists of three key elements – transformer substations at both ends of the link, in Alytus and Elk in Poland, a HVDC back-to-back converter station in Alytus and a 163 km high voltage overhead power line.  
“The substations are undergoing reconstruction, the route for the power line is being prepared, the line’s first supporting structures will appear this month and a 10 hectare construction site where the HVDC back-to-back converter station, the only one of this type in the Baltic States, will be built, has been assigned to the station’s constructor, the Swedish company ABB,” pointed out Karolis Sankovski, Member of Board and Head of The Strategic Infrastructure Department of Litgrid.  
The preliminary value of the Lithuanian-Polish link is put at LTL 1.2 billion, with the cost to be shared between the countries. LitPol Link is included in the list of the EU Projects of Common Interest. The European Commission has allocated LTL 5.85 billion to finance these projects. The European Commission is due to give its response concerning the partial funding of the LitPol Link project: the HVDC back-to-back converter station in Alytus and the high voltage overhead power line from Alytus to the Polish border.
LitPol Link's 400 kV line in Lithuania will cover 51 km and go through over 400 plots of land in the districts of Alytus ir Lazdijai. In 2012-2013, the landowners received a compensation of nearly LTL 4 million from Litgrid for granting an easement to their property.  All legal disputes with local residents concerning LitPol Link's construction have also been solved.
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