Elering reconstructing high-voltage power lines from Narva to Valga

  • 2022-03-15
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - In order to disconnect Estonia from the Russian power grid, the state-owned transmission system operator Elering is reconstructing high-voltage power lines running from the northeastern Estonian border town of Narva to the southern border town of Valga with the construction works also concerning a significant number of landowners.

"In order to ensure Estonia's energy security, it is important that we carry out the works as smoothly as possible. We ask understanding and cooperation from all landowners and local governments," project manager at Elering Illimar Vahtras said in a press release.

"We're trying to accommodate the wishes and proposals by landowners, however, it is not always possible and during the reconstruction works we're using the existing corridors to get the work done faster and with less impact on all the parties involved," he added.

In the course of the works, depreciated components in the overhead transmission lines will be replaced with new ones. In order to do so, the existing utility poles and wiring will be dismantled and new components corresponding to modern requirements will be installed in their stead at the same locations.

The new overhead lines will be quieter and safer compared with the current ones. Local governments covering the corridors of the lines to be reconstructed have already granted all the necessary permissions for the works.

The Baltic electricity system is technically part of Russia's interconnected system, which entails a geopolitical risk. The frequency, which is one of the most important parameters of the electricity system, is controlled by Russia, and thus the eastern neighbor has the ability to influence the operation of the electricity system in the Baltic states. 

Synchronizing with the continental European frequency band reduces the risk of Estonia's dependence on the Russian energy system and frequency band being used against it, Elering said.

In order to mitigate risks and expand the market, Elering has started preparatory activities to disconnect the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian electricity systems from Russia's and to join the continental European electricity network and the corresponding frequency band in January 2026. 

In the run-up to synchronization, the Baltic states are strengthening their electricity networks and interconnections. Elering is reconstructing powerful 330-kilovolt power lines starting from the Narva region and heading to Latvia near Valga. 

In addition, a third electricity connection with Latvia, which starts from the Harku substation near Tallinn, has been completed. Similar reinforcements are being made in the Latvian and Lithuanian electricity systems. The transition from one frequency band to another will take place unnoticed by the end user. 

The synchronization will cost the Baltic states and Poland a total of 1.6 billion euros, of which Estonia's share is about 300 million euros. The European Union covers 75 percent of the investment. Elering will use congestion income to finance the rest. Investments in the synchronization will not affect the tariff for Estonian electricity consumers.