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New interconnections open electricity highways to Europe for the Baltic countries

New interconnections open electricity highways to Europe for the Baltic countries

Today in Vilnius, on December 14th, a new energy victory was symbolically commemorated for two new international electricity interconnections, the LitPol Link and NordBalt, bringing Lithuania and the Baltic countries back on the map of Europe’s electricity grid. The photos of the event can be found here.
“Over the past five years we’ve gained invaluable experience while simultaneously implementing two strategic projects of high technology which is the first of such kind in the Lithuanian grid. We’ve accomplished the huge NordBalt and LitPol Link projects with like-minded partners in Poland and Sweden, and our unity and trust in each other is an example for all Europe: by cooperating with neighbours, we can create a single and sustainable energy in the EU”, Daivis Virbickas, CEO and Board Chairman of Lithuanian electricity transmission system operator Litgrid, said.
Lithuania is connected to Poland and Sweden using high voltage direct current. This technology is designed to connect asynchronous grids, transmit power over long distances with lower losses and to control the electricity flows. 
According to Mr Virbickas, LitPol Link and NordBalt have removed the last infrastructure barriers in the Baltic region, and now, all efforts are being aimed at new ambitious goals  single electricity market projects and the synchronization of the Baltic countries with the electricity system of Western European.
The construction of both interconnections is going to be the single largest investment in the Lithuanian electricity system since the re-establishment of independence. By 2020, the demand for electricity in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia will rise by 1.1 annually. As soon as the NordBalt and LitPol Link starts fully working, the opportunities of Baltic countries to transmit electricity from their neighbours will increase by 1/3.
Since last Wednesday, LitPol Link as the new supply source of up to 500 MW have been available in the Lithuanian bidding area of the Nord Pool Spot. 
“Both Poland and Lithuania have enhanced their energy security through the ability to import and export power. The increase of transmission capacity of cross-border interconnections is extremely important considering the security of supply”, Henryk Majchrzak, President of Management Board of the Polish electricity transmission system operator PSE, said. “A reliable infrastructure, being the platform for uninterrupted exchange and supply of electricity is the key element of the modern state because it is determining its economic growth”, Mr Majchrzak added.
The NordBalt system tests will determine the secure exploitation of the interconnection for the next 30 years. The Lithuanian and Swedish interconnection control centres are 450 km apart from Klaipėda to Nybro.
“I am happy to recognize that we are now fulfilling a dream of the early 90s, creating a Baltic Ring that electrically connects the states surrounding the Baltic Sea. This contributes to the independence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania but also enables us to utilize the combined production resources in the Nordic-Baltic region in a more efficient way, for the benefit of both welfare and environment”, Mikael Odenberg, CEO and Board Chairman of the Swedish electricity transmission system operator Svenska kraftnät, said. 
About the Lithuanian-Polish interconnection LitPol Link 
With a capacity of 500 MW, the LitPol Link completes the electricity ring of the Baltic region. The 400 kV overhead power line extends 163 km through the districts of Alytus and Lazdijai in Lithuania, and Podlachia, Warmia and Mazury in Poland. The project investment in Poland is 430 million EUR, and almost half of it was financed by the EU. In Lithuania, all works related to the interconnection received 150 million EUR, and the EU contribution was 31.4 million EUR. The first Lithuania-Poland interconnection project was implemented by Litgrid and PSE, Lithuania and Poland’s respective electricity transmission system operators.
About the Lithuanian-Swedish interconnection NordBalt 
With a capacity of 700 MW, NordBalt can cover almost half of the electricity demand on a warm winter day in Lithuania. The coasts of Lithuania and Sweden were connected by a 400km high voltage direct current submarine cable. Another 53 km of cable is installed underground  in Lithuania reaching Klaipėda, and in Sweden reaching Nybro. The project investment is 550 million EUR. The EU invested 131 million EUR, and Lithuania and Sweden have equally split the remaining amount.
The first Lithuanian-Swedish energy project was implemented by Litgrid and Svenska kraftnät, the respective Lithuanian and Swedish electricity transmission system operators.
Lithuanian transmission system operator Litgrid
Litgrid is Lithuania’s electricity transmission system operator, controlling the flow of electrical energy in Lithuania and maintaining the stable operation of the country’s electrical energy system. Litgrid implements the projects of strategic importance as the interconnections with Sweden and Poland. It is also responsible for synchronizing the country’s energy system with Western Europe and creating technical conditions for the operation of the electricity market.
Swedish transmission system operator Svenska kraftnät
Svenska kraftnät is responsible for ensuring that Sweden has a safe, environmentally sound and cost-effective electricity supply – today and in the future. This includes maintaining and developing the Swedish national grid for electricity, consisting of 15 000 km of high voltage power lines. Svenska kraftnät is an authority that is operated in the form of a state-owned enterprise.
Polish transmission system operator PSE
PSE provides electricity transmission services and ensures secure and cost-effective operation the Polish power system whilst meeting the conditions of synchronous and asynchronous operation with other European systems. 
PSE perform the duties of the transmission system operator using its own transmission grid of the highest voltage, which consists of 257 lines with a total length of 14,069 km.
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