The reconstruction of the 330kv overhead line connecting Latvia to Estonia and the Baltics to Europe has been completed

  • 2024-06-19

One of the key projects for the synchronisation of the Baltic States grid with European network is the reconstruction of the 330 kV overhead line spanning from Valmiera (Latvia) to Tsirguliina (Estonia). The Latvian transmission system operator JSC "Augstsprieguma tīkls" (AST) in cooperation with the general partnership "Empower un Leonhard Weiss" have completed the reconstruction. The financing of the project reaches EUR 14 million, which is co-financed in the amount of 75% from the funds of the European Union Infrastructure Connecting Instrument.

On behalf of the European Commission's Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson and the European Commission's General Directorate for Energy (ENER), Hugo Evangelista, Legal and Policy Specialist of infrastructure and regional cooperation at ENER expressed appreciation to the Latvian and Estonian transmission system operators - AST and Elering for the implementation of this important project and said: "Due to its urgency and importance the Baltic synchronisation project has been on the highest agenda of the EU for over 12 years now. This has been evidenced by significant support by the European Council, and the Commission in the form of political declarations, technical support and, not least important, financial support exceeding EUR 1.2 billion. The Baltic Sea region has probably the most significant tradition in terms of regional cooperation in the field of energy. You are an example of the benefits it brings. Only 15 years ago, the Baltic States and Finland were completely isolated from the EU energy grid and fully dependant on Russia. Today, we are in a region that is very well interconnected, both in gas and electricity, ensuring and where energy security is ensured. We are close to reaching our agreed date of Synchronisation in February 2025. This accelerated synchronisation goal shortens the previous target by almost one year and is only possible due to the TSOs intensified efforts." 

Ona Kostinaitė-Grinkevičienė, Head of Sector, Unit CEF Energy and Renewable Energy Financing Mechanism, CINEA (European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency) said: “This year we are celebrating 10 years of Connecting Europe Facility, which supports the creation of sustainable and effectively interconnected European networks in the field of energy. During this time, with the co-financing of the Connecting Europe Facility the Baltic transmission system operators have implemented key infrastructure projects with the aim to ensure disconnection from the Russian and Belarusian energy system and connection to the Continental European Network. The rebuilt 330 kV overhead power transmission line Valmiera – Tsirguliina is an important piece of this puzzle for the Baltic region and Europe. The AST team, overcoming various challenges on its way, has successfully and on time implemented the reconstruction of the line. This would not have been possible without the involvement of other parties - the general partnership of construction contractors, the Latvian government and the local municipalities." 

Jānis Irbe, Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Climate and Energy of Latvia emphasized: "The most ambitious energy independence project in the Baltic States – the completed switchover from the Russian energy system to the European energy system – is rapidly approaching its final phase. This is a historic milestone for the energy independence of Latvia and the Baltics. The reconstruction of the Valmiera-Tsirgulina line is one of the most important preconditions for the synchronisation of the Baltic electricity network with Europe. Energy independence, the security of energy supply that we will be able to maintain with a strong infrastructure, is particularly important in the current geopolitical situation. With this project we are increasing the capacity of transmission line, making more efficient market operation in the Baltics, as well as improving competitiveness in the region."

Rolands Irklis, chairman of the board of Latvian transmission system operator JSC "Augstsprieguma tīkls" said: "We already have the third interconnector between Estonia and Latvia, last year the 330 kV overhead line line Valmiera-Tartu was completed, and this year the reconstruction works of the 330 kV overhead line Valmiera-Tsirguliina is completed. This means that the energy supply between Latvia and Estonia is ensured and stable. This is very important right now, when we are preparing to synchronise with the European network. This project not only connects Estonia with Latvia, it is also a project that connects the Baltic States with Europe. It is an important part of the synchronisation project – only by being strong together in the Baltics can we connect the European network. European funding has been very important in achieving this goal." 

The length of the overhead line in the territory of Latvia reaches almost 50 km, crossing the territory of Valmiera and Valka regions. The length of the line's cables reaches 450 km, it has 114 pylons, the total weight of which exceeds 1000 tons. The Valmiera-Tsirguliina and Valmiera-Tartu overhead lines were built in the 1960s and 1970s. Both 330kV overhead lines were reconstructed by replacing all the old infrastructure.

Reconstruction of the electricity transmission line Valmiera-Tsirguliina and the electricity transmission line Valmiera-Tartu completed in 2023 will provide sufficient infrastructure for the energy independence of the Baltic States from Russia's power system, serving as the prerequisite for the successful synchronisation of the Baltic States' power system with the grids of Continental Europe, which is planned for 2025.

The synchronisation of the Baltic networks with European network will increase the security of electricity supply in the region while promoting the development of the European internal energy market and creating new business opportunities. The investments in equipment and technologies are also one of the preconditions for the secure connection of large-scale renewable energy sources to the transmission network and for meeting the objectives of the European Green Deal.

About JSC "Augstsprieguma tīkls"

AST, the Latvian electrical power transmission system operator, ensures uninterrupted and secure transmission of electricity throughout Latvia. Its vision is to become the leading transmission system operator in the region through the efficient and successful implementation of development-oriented changes. AST has 68.46% shareholding in the capital of the operator of the natural gas transmission and storage system AS “Conexus Baltic Grid”.