Sea cable to be functional by December

  • 2006-01-18
  • From wire reports
TALLINN - Estlink, the Estonian-Finnish electrical sea cable, must go into operation as of Dec. 1, officials involved in the project said, while the state-owned Estonian utility said there were more cable projects on the drawing board.

Fifty kilometers of the 74-kilometer-long sea cable connecting the Baltic state with Finland have been manufactured, and the production process is ongoing, said a spokesman for ABB, a Swedish owned company building the cable. Soon half of the 128-kilometer cable needed will be completed.

The line carries a direct current and consists of two parallel cables. The cables to be laid on the sea floor and land are different.

A meter of the sea cable weighs 27 kilograms, while the land cable weighs 11 kilograms per meter.

Converter stations based on ABB's unique technology will be installed between the direct current cable and the two countries' alternating current high-voltage power grids. The latter will account for most of the nearly 1.7 billion kroon (108 million euro) project.

The nominal capacity of the cable is 350 megawatts. The line will allow for electrical transmission in both directions, and is crucial for insuring Estonia's independent power system.

The cable will raise the system's overall reliability, a spokesman for Eesti Energia (Estonian Energy) said.

Owners of Nordic Energy Link, a company established for constructing and administrating Estlink, are the state-owned power companies of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and a joint venture of Finland's Pohjalan Voima and Helsingin Energia.

Estonian Energy said it was considering various options for new electricity connections in the next 10 's 15 years.

Raine Pajo, head of the company's development department, said one possible connection would be a line from the southwestern town of Sindi to Riga. It would have a voltage of 330 kilovolts and 1,200 megawatt capacity similar to a new high-voltage line under construction between Narva and Tallinn.

The line to Riga could be built after the completion of the Tartu-Sindi line in about 2015-20.

Estonian Energy also sees the need for new lines to Scandinavia, and is considering a number of corresponding scenarios.

According to Pajo, Estonia could build a 600 MW link to Sweden and a second, 600 MW cable to Finland in addition to Estlink.

The latter would start either at Johvi on the northern coast or Paldiski in the northwest. However, the company does not consider the construction of any new connections with Finland and Sweden likely before 2015.

Still, existence of different links between power systems would in general improve the security of Estonia's electricity supply, Pajo said.