Transmission system operators submit joint application for CEF funding ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

High-voltage power lines. Photo is illustrative.
High-voltage power lines. Photo is illustrative. Source: Elering

The transmission system operators of the Baltic states and Poland on Tuesday submitted a joint application for funding from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), requesting financial support from the second stage of the synchronization of the Baltic countries' electric grids with the Central European system.

The second stage will include construction of the interconnector Harmony Link, synchronous condensers, national grids' reinforcement and the upgrade of IT control systems, all of which will facilitate the planned switch, according to a press release from Estonian transmission system operator (TSO) Elering.

The four countries expect to receive CEF support for the investments worth a total of €1.2 billion, with the value of Lithuanian investments standing at €462 million, Latvian at €100 million, Estonian at €111 million, and Polish at €521 million. This co-funding from the EU is a key element in implementing the synchronization project in each of the participating countries.

"This partnership represents regional solidarity on a historic scale, as it will directly and positively impact our countries' societies for decades," said Daivis Virbickas, CEO of Lithuanian TSO Litgrid. "Together, we are seeking to fill the biggest piece of the puzzle in relation to the ongoing project of synchronizing infrastructure and connecting our countries. Compared with the CEF applications submitted in 2018 by Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia and in 2019 by Lithuania and Poland, this time it is a joint action of four countries. Poland is the natural geographical route for the Baltic states to efficiently synchronize their national grids with Continental Europe. The joint application with Poland is of crucial importance and clearly demonstrates that the Baltic states are getting needed neighboring support to build the necessary infrastructure."

"On behalf of Elering, I would like to thank my Latvian, Lithuanian and Polish colleagues for their contribution to the joint project," said Elering CEO Taavi Veskimägi. "The effort of the four TSOs takes us a significant step toward synchronization."

"This is an important step toward safer cooperation with the European electricity system and common operating and management principles, which will result in the synchronization of the Baltic states with the electricity transmission system of Continental Europe," said Varis Boks, board chairman of Latvian TSO AS   Augstsprieguma tīkls. "The prepared application is a successful collaboration of all three Baltic states together with Poland."

The 2018 CEF application submitted jointly by all three Baltic countries included national grid reinforcements in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, an action which was granted €323 million. In 2019, Litgrid and Polish TSO PSE were granted €10 million by CEF for the preparatory phase of Harmony Link. Further CEF support for the synchrnization project would allow historical change for the electricity market in the Baltic states, Elering said.

In addition to constructing additional infrastructure between the countries, the second stage of the synchronization would foster market integration in the region and create new opportunities for energy market participants, the TSO noted. It could lead to tighter economic cooperation and numerous other benefits. Synchronization is also important in terms of the development of a single European electricity market and strengthening the energy security of the entire region.

The synchronization of the Baltic states' power system with the Continental European network is planned to be implemented in 2025.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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