Timo Tatar, undersecretary for the Ministry of Climate, told Vikerraadio that bringing Estonia's synchronization with the continental European grid ahead one year will cost TSO Elering some €10 million.
Tatar said that the recent agreement between the Baltics, following pressure from Lithuania, will hopefully give the three countries' TSOs 18 months of peace to work on everything that still needs to be done before February 2025.
Estonia's main task is to reinforce its energy links with Latvia and build three synchronous condensers. There are around 30 other smaller tasks that still need to be done.
Tatar said that while preparations are on schedule, brining the construction of an important power line to Latvia ahead by a year will cost Elering €10 million.
The Püssi synchronous condenser is already online. The second such device will be built at the Viru substation and the third in Kiisa. Tatar said that all will be finished before 2025.
At the same time, Latvia is somewhat behind schedule with its condensers.
Some Latvian condensers will be finished after the February 2025 deadline, which begs the question of whether the risks of desynchronizing from the Russian grid are perhaps too great, Tatar said.
A synchronous condenser is basically a gigantic flywheel that provides power systems with the necessary inertia to maintain the correct frequency in cases where power plants go offline and the system needs stabilizing. "It creates the effect of a powerful plant in the transmission system, helping to maintain a stable frequency," the undersecretary explained.
Right now, Estonia gets the necessary inertia to maintain this stability from major power plants in Russia and Belarus.
Every Baltic country will have three synchronous condensers. "This decision was made by experts based on simulations from five or six years ago when the synchronization was in the planning phase," Tatar said.
Additional high-voltage lines to Latvia and the three condensers will run Estonia €350 million in all, with the EU paying for 75 percent of the investment.
A test run for the decoupling from the BRELL circle will also take place in early 2025.
The prime ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania signed a joint declaration on Thursday, agreeing to step up preparations and the deadline for joining the continental European power grid.
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said that Russia's aggression in Ukraine and its use of energy as a weapon proves we are dealing with a dangerous and unpredictable state, which is why remaining in the Russian grid is a risk for consumers in Estonia.
The agreement between premiers follows a corresponding deal between the Baltic TSOs.
Editor: Marcus Turovski