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NordBalt’s testing goes as planned

NordBalt’s testing goes as planned

Since the start of its trial operations the NordBalt power interconnection between Lithuania and Sweden disrupted three times due to malfunction. The statistics show that any North European HVDC power interconnection experiences on average 9.8 disturbances per year. Disturbance is a particularly frequent occurrence during the first year of a power interconnection’s operation. Later on disturbances become less frequent. 
On the afternoon of April 6, 2016, the NordBalt power interconnection was disrupted as a result of a failure in the control system. The failure was fixed and the power interconnection resumed its trail operation at 8 p.m.   
“As with any novel and complex equipment, it takes time to fine-tune a power interconnection and ensure its smooth operation. As we were getting prepared to launch power interconnections we knew that we would have to master technology that was quite new in Lithuania. We also knew and now are fully convinced that the first year, especially first months of the launch of a power interconnection will test the vigilance and professionalism of our specialists in detecting and fixing malfunctions,” said Daivis Virbickas, CEO and chairman of the board of the Lithuanian electricity transmission system operator Litgrid.
This submarine cable is specific in that its core part – high voltage direct current converters - is located 450 km apart. So, if a disturbance occurs in the offshore section of the cable, it takes time to establish the reason of the disturbance. Due to extremely complex new HVDC technologies, a high importance is placed on the information management systems of power interconnection elements and the reliability of such systems. 
“Information about the operation of the power interconnections and their disturbance as well as physical electricity flows every minute can be watched on Litgrid’s website. It is quite natural that the ability to watch the power interconnection’s operation and its first performance results generates a lot of interest.  I want to stress that although consumers can obtain information about a disturbance in the electricity infrastructure the moment it occurs they do not experience the consequences of such disturbance thanks to automated equipment that manages the power system and system control engineers who are on duty day and night,” says Virbickas. 
This Friday, April 8, early in the morning, from 5:00 to 9:00 a.m. electricity transmission via the NordBalt power interconnection will be stopped due to the NordBalt control system’s maintenance works.   
The 450 km NordBalt power interconnection is comprised of HVDC converter stations in Lithuania and Sweden, transformer substations, submarine and land cables, control, relay protection, automatics and other systems.  
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