Updated Estonian-Latvian electricity connection launches

Electricity pylon.
Electricity pylon. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The first of two updated high-voltage electricity lines connecting Estonian-Latvian electricity launched on Friday. The cables will eventually allow the Baltics to disconnect from the Russian grid and officials say the project is on schedule.

The project has already been underway for 15 years and, when it is completed, it will guarantee Estonia's energy security and independence with a connection to the continental European grid.

The three Baltic states initially agreed on a desynchronization deadline of 2025, but Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine has sped things up. Recently all three prime ministers agreed to accelerate the process.

Elering's board chairman Taavi Veskimägi does not currently see any reason for concern.

"I think that if Russia had wanted to do something energy-related against us, the weakest moment was last winter. Next winter there will certainly be much greater security of supply for consumers and fewer risks to keeping the lights on and homes warm here in Estonia," he said.

Climate Minister Kristen Michal (Reform) told Friday's "Aktuaalne kaamera" that work is on track.

"Let's say that, in terms of energy, what Russia is doing in Ukraine is still a security issue, which means that it is essential to create new interconnections and to maintain this frequency and to create this capacity. So we are on track, we are on schedule, and all the work is now going according to plan," said Michal.

Estonia's part of the project has cost €350 million, said Veskimägi, but it has not impacted consumers' wallets.

"For me, it's also very important to say that even though it's costing €350 million, it's not going to lead to additional network charges for the consumer, that we have made these investments," he said.


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Editor: Barbara Oja, Helen Wright

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