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30 May 2017

Baltic Grids Synchronization

During the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan (BEMIP) meeting in Brussels at the beginning of April, representatives of the Baltic Sea region countries agreed on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in which the foreseen synchronization of the Baltic power grids will preferably occur via Poland.

The European Commission has analyzed different alternatives for the synchronization of the Baltic power grid and has found that the best option in terms of security of supply and cost efficiency is synchronization through Poland's two route corridors and four direct current links.

For historical reasons the power grids in the Baltic countries Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are operating in synchronization with those in Russia and Belarus, called the BRELL ring. The European Commission's Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan (BEMIP) is now coordinating the construction of energy infrastructure that will further link the Baltic countries with the rest of Europe and decouple them from the BRELL ring.

A first step in this synchronization process took place in 2015/16, when the Lithuania-Poland interconnection LitPol Link was completed.

The MoU also provides for a study to be conducted by the Baltic and the Polish power transmission system operators jointly with ENTSO-E to give answers on the technical issues and to which extent a single LitPol Link is secure enough for the synchronization process. However, the MoU will not specify how many interconnections there will be.

The Lithuanian Deputy Energy Minister Egidijus Purlys said: "We are not specifying this in detail. This will be up to the operators and ENTSO-E to do. ENTSO-E will carry out their assessment and will then say how many links will be needed, one or two, to ensure that security level."

Polish officials at this stage suggest that a second LitPol Link connection would be difficult to build, because of environmental requirements.