Story By Jov Onsat|RigZone.com| The European Commission and the three remaining European Union Baltic countries connected to the Russian power grid have signed a declaration reaffirming their commitment to migrating these nations’ electricity networks to continental Europe by February 2025.
These three states—the Baltic Sea neighborhood of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—already signed August a declaration among themselves pledging to quicken the decoupling of their power infrastructure from Russia for integration with the Continental Europe Network (CEN), in a move prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year.
The new target date is nearly a year earlier than agreed under a political declaration involving the three states and the commission in 2018.
The latest declaration, inked this week, also involves Poland. The grid migration plan for the Baltic states will use a new project linking the power supply systems of Lithuania and Poland, called Harmony Link Interconnector.
“The three Baltic States are the last remaining EU Member States with electricity networks that are still synchronized with Russia and Belarus”, the commission’s Directorate-General of Energy said in a statement Tuesday. “Their synchronization is a strategic project of common interest.
“Over the past 12 years, it has received significant political, technical, and financial EU support exceeding EUR 1.2 bn [$1.32 billion] worth of grants”.
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The statement added, “Under the political declaration, the Member States concerned also committed to speeding up the development of the ‘Harmony Link Interconnector’, one of the most significant energy infrastructure projects between Lithuania and Poland”.
Harmony Link is a submarine line about 330 kilometers long (205.05 miles) using a high-voltage direct current cable connecting Poland’s Zarnoviec substation and Ltihuania’s Darbėnai substation. The second power interconnection between Lithuania and Poland after the LitPol project (operational since 2016), Harmony Link is expected to be completed in 2028.
“We are approaching the historic moment of full integration of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania into our internal electricity market, to be achieved with the synchronization of Baltic and Continental European power grids by February 2025”, EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simon said.
“The war in Ukraine, Russia’s shameless manipulation of EU energy markets, and the subsequent energy crisis have underlined the importance of energy independence. This synchronization project will enable the three Baltic States to gain full control of their electricity networks, and reinforce energy security in the region”.
The three Baltic states, Poland and the commission first agreed to delink the Baltic power system from the Russian system in 2018, some four years before Russia invaded Ukraine. The invasion prompted the parties to accelerate the process.
The separate declaration penned in August by the Baltic states noted the Putin regime’s war “significantly deteriorated the energy security situation in the region and increased the risks of unplanned de-synchronization of the Baltic States’ electricity systems from IPS/UPS”, the grid system linking the three countries to Russia.
Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania’s power supply systems are already connected with Finland, Poland, and Sweden. “For historical reasons, however, the Baltic States’ electricity grid is still operated in a synchronous mode with the Russian and Belarusian systems”, the European Commission said in a statement about the August declaration. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were part of the Soviet Union.
The Baltic states agreed to “redouble concerted efforts and full mobilization in ensuring political support for de-synchronization from IPS/UPS and achieving the synchronous operation of Baltic States’ electricity systems with the Continental European Network not later than by February 2025”, as stated in the text of the August declaration.
“The project will not only bring energy security in the region and complete the EU integration of the three Baltic States, but will also support the implementation of the Green Deal by ensuring secure, affordable, and sustainable energy for the Eastern Baltic Sea region and the Union as a whole”, Simson said in a statement about the August declaration. The Green Deal, adopted in 2020 by the European Parliament, sets strategies for achieving a climate-neutral economy by 2050.
Following Russia’s invasion, the EU declared in March 2022 the phaseout of fossil fuels from its main traditional energy source Russia by 2027.
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