The fully upgraded Balti-Tartu high-voltage transmission line was energized on Tuesday, marking the completion of the first, €35 million investment in the Baltic power grid synchronization project, Estonian transmission system operator (TSO) Elering announced Wednesday.
Likewise slated to be completed in a few months are upgrades to the Tartu-Valmiera overhead line, which together with the Balti-Tartu line form one Estonian-Latvian link, Elering said in a press release. The completion of these upgrades will make it possible to start the full reconstruction of another Soviet-era link with Latvia as early as this summer.
"Upgrading the [transmission] lines in Latvia's direction is essential so that we can disconnect ourselves from the [BRELL] electricity system controlled by Russia and join the European frequency area with Latvia and Lithuania," Elering management board member Kalle Kilk said. "These are the connections that will link the Baltic power networks more strongly into a single entity and also form a 'power highway' to Central Europe."
The Balti-Turu high-voltage line received new masts and lines over 133 kilometers. In addition to the powerful 330-kilovolt transit line, it also carries the conductors of several 110-kilovolt overhead lines of local importance.
Placing two lines on the same masts allowed Elering to dismantle 150 kilometers of obsolete 110-kilovolt overhead lines. This change impacted some 750 hectares of land that landowners will now be able to use without restrictions.
Preparations still on track for completion in 2025
Elering funded the upgrades to the Balti-Tartu line from both EU funds as well as from income generated from the auctioning of transmission capacities. Rates for Estonian consumers will not be increased by the cost of the upgrades, the company stressed.
Preparations for connecting Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to the Continental European synchronous grid, or Continental Synchronous Area, are slated to be completed by the end of 2025.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic crisis and Russia's ongoing aggression in Ukraine have impacted construction activities and the accessibility of materials, according to the Estonian TSO, major synchronization projects nonetheless remain on their originally planned schedules.
Editor: Aili Vahtla