Harmony Link to be installed by beginning of next decade – CEO of Lithuania's Litgrid

  • 2023-08-09
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - The Harmony Link offshore cable that will link Poland and Lithuania, which is the most expensive, largest and one of the most important projects as part of the bid to synchronize the Baltic power grids with Western Europe, is not expected to be installed before the beginning of the next decade, Rokas Masiulis, the CEO of Litgrid, Lithuania's electricity transmission system operator, says.

"It's hard to say yet. As I said, negotiations (with potential contractors - BNS) are not finished, but I think it will be around the beginning of early next decade," Masiulis said in an interview with BNS, asked when the Harmony Link construction is expected to be completed after Litgrid and Poland's PSE cancelled the tenders for contractors earlier this year after the bids were almost 2.5 times higher than the project's 680 million budget.

Previously, the HVDC offshore cable between Lithuania and Poland was planned to be built in 2025, but last summer, Masiulis said the project could be delayed by two to three years, pushing it to 2027-2028. 

The Lithuanian and Polish TSOs are currently consulting potential contractors and discussions with the European Commission on increased funding have also been started.

"I do hope that additional funding will be obtained as this is a very important project. Moreover, especially now that we have found an amicable agreement with the Latvians and the Estonians, these two countries support our ambition to increase funding for this project," Masiulis said.

"As the project will be slightly delayed, we expect to finance some of the difference from the higher congestion revenues (the funds operators receive when price differences develop between trading zones as the capacity fills up - BNS)," he added. 

Despite Vilnius' ambition to synchronize the Baltic electricity grids with continental Europe as early as early next year, the Litgrid CEO sees last week's agreements signed by the prime ministers of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia and the TSOs to complete the process by February 2025 as "a certain achievement and a compromise".

"This is an achievement as without this agreement, synchronization could have taken place in 2026, and perhaps even later. We also saw the risk that without any agreement and at the pace that Latvia and Estonia saw, we could have been pushed back to 2026. Therefore, it is better to have a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush," Masiulis said.

Failure to agree with Latvia and Estonia on synchronization in February 2025 would have forced Lithuania to announce its withdrawal from the energy system agreement (BRELL) with Russian and Belarusian operators as early as this August. Now the Baltic states intend to do so together in the summer of 2024

"Lithuania still wanted to move jointly," Masiulis said.

He did not rule out that Russia and Belarus could disconnect the Baltic countries from the BRELL ring before the synchronization takes place, but assured that Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are ready for it.