Hiiumaa authorities want Latvia-Finland electricity connection, via island

Electric power lines.
Electric power lines. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The local government on the island of Hiiumaa has proposed a pan-Baltic electricity connection which would connect Latvia with Finland, via Estonia, with the latter section running across Hiiumaa. The proposal would help solve issues the islanders have with current electricity grid, which the municipality says is antiquated,.

Municipal council chair Anu Pielberg said: "Hiiumaa is the only county that does not have a main grid.

"We have a 35-kilowatt distribution grid that comes from the previous (ie. Soviet-ed.) regime. And at the moment, the situation is such that our production companies can no longer expand, and there is a situation whereby no new production companies can come in, while even solar panels are no longer accepted by the distribution network."

The proposal would not only improve infrastructure on the island, Estonia's second-largest and with a permanent population of just under 10,000, the municipality says, but would be an opportunity for improved connection between states (i.e. Estonia, Finland and Latvia) and for connecting to the offshore windfarms planned for the Gulf of Riga.

The proposal would see the connection running from Curonia (Kurzeme) in Latvia, via Saaremaa and Hiiumaa and across the Gulf of Finland, to Lieto.

However, Elering, which oversees the management of Estonia's electricity system, says there are no plans to put in place such a connection.

In a written response to ERR; Elering stated that while a further connection between Estonia and Finland can go ahead, the project, Estlink-3, would see the Estonian end of the connection being installed in the Paldiski region, on the mainland.

Elektrilevi, which owns Hiiumaa's electricity distribution network, also said that a planned new undersea cable which will link Saaremaa and Hiiumaa will provide more capacity for the latter.

The company says it plans to procure a flexibility service this fall, which will manage electricity consumption in Hiiumaa more intelligently and also generate more free capacity in the network in this way.

Meanwhile, Elering said the system managers of several states in the Baltic Sea region also have their plans for a network of connections linking the countries and offshore wind farms, with Hiiumaa in the picture – for instance via the planned 1,100 M"h offshore windfarm Eesti Energia subsidiary Enefit Green is planning.

Head of the Estonian Chamber of Renewable Energy Mihkel Annus said the potential for renewable energy production in Hiiumaa is quite substantial, to the order of around 2GW, and predominantly offshore.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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