New €170-million electricity connection links Estonia and Latvia

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The third Estonia-Latvia cross-border electricity connection was ready for January 1 (photo is illustrative). Source: Elering

A new electricity connection between Estonia and its southern neighbor Latvia has been completed. The connection was part-European Union funded, and represents part of an ongoing process of synchronization with the grid systems of the rest of the union, away from those of the Russian Federation.

The connection, which cost a total of around €170 million to install, is the third of its kind, with operation set to commence on New Year's Day, BNS reports.

From the beginning of 2021, the line is available to the electricity market and adds approximately 600 MW of transmission capacity between the two countries, BNS reports.

Taavi Veskimägi, board chair of grid distributor Elering, said: "It is a pleasure to acknowledge that the new connection was completed exactly on the initially agreed deadline and according to the initial budget regardless of the difficult epidemic situation and various challenges on the construction sites above all due to warm winters.

The new connection significantly contributes to improving the security of supply, it is reported, by reinforcing north-south electricity connections in addition to the existing grid system western Estonia.

It also represents an important prerequisite for connecting Estonia and the other two Baltic States to the power grid of continental Europe, part of a process of decoupling from connections with the Russian Federation.

Taavi Veskimägi added that: "The completion of the third Estonian-Latvian electricity connection allows for the commencement of renovation work of transmission lines beginning from the Narva area which will connect with Latvia via Tartu and Valga already in 2021. These must be ready by the time of the switch in the synchronous area."

In Estonia itself, the connection comprises the 175-km Harku-Lihula-Sindi 330/110 kV line and the 14-km Kilingi-Nomme-Riga 330 kV line section running to the Estonian-Latvian border, Elering says.

The first of these lines, constructed primarily by Empower and Leonhard Weiss, was powered up on December 15 and the second, developed principally by Empower and requiring coordination with Latvian operator AST, two days later.

The new connection had already undergone testing through to the end of last year.

EU support for the project amounted to 65 percent, BNS reports, with the remainder funded by the auction revenue of transmission capacity between the two countries.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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