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Estonia likely to give in to Poland's demands on desynchronisation

Baltic leaders and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels. March 2018.
Baltic leaders and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels. March 2018. Source: AFP/Scanpix

Estonia will likely abandon its demand for two alternating current (AC) connections for the synchronisation of the Baltic countries with the Central European grid, instead complying with Poland, which refuses to establish a second AC link.

The heads of government of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland are expected to sign an agreement with a representative of the European Commission on the sidelines of the EU summit in Brussels on 28-29 June on interconnecting the Baltic grid with Central Europe. The four countries have yet to reach a final agreement, however, on how exactly to disconnect the Baltic grid from the Russian-Belarusian BRELL system and connect it with that of Central Europe.

In terms of both security of supply and financial expenses, Estonia considers the best option to be establishing a second AC connection alongside the existing LitPol link between Lithuania and Poland, but Poland finds this option unacceptable. As a result, Estonia is expected to give in to Poland's demands and accept another alternative solution, provided it is equal to that of two LitPol links in terms of security of supply and expenses.

An additional study will be carried out that will have to assess the expenses of an alternative solution and the security of supply thereof. An alternative option would suppose the establishment of an undersea direct current (DC) link between Lithuania and Poland along with additional investments in synchronisation compensators, electricity system stabilisers and other stabilisation mechanisms. The study should be completed by the end of summer and is to be confirmed at a Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan (BEMIP) meeting to be held in September.

In the event that the alternative solution will not ensure a result equal to the security of supply and rate of expenses wanted by Estonia, the parties should continue talks for finding a suitable option, but in this case, the resynchronisation deadline set for 2025 would come under question.

Taavi Veskimägi, CEO of Estonian transmission system operator Elering, said earlier in June that synchronising the Baltic power systems with Central Europe via two interconnections between Lithuania and Poland is without doubt the best option when it comes to security of supply and the cost alike, and that not agreeing to it will delay the desynchronisation from the power network of Russia.

"We will likely reach desynchronisation by the end of 2025, but the prerequisite for it is that the solution that will now be created is reliable and cost-effective," Veskimägi said. "If it is not reliable, then we believe that it should be postponed until a solution is found that will ensure reliability for us."

He also said that Russia may achieve the capability to operate its electricity network without an interconnection to Kaliningrad via the Baltic countries already this year. "Why we are in a hurry dealing with desynchronisation? It's because our mutual dependence with Russia is about to disappear," he explained. "By the end of this year, when the LNG terminal in Kaliningrad starts working, Russia will be able to supply Kaliningrad without the gas pipeline going through Lithuania."

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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