The Lithuanian and Polish electricity transmission systems operators, Litgrid and PSE, are looking into installing an onshore cable instead of the planned Harmony Link offshore power cable between Poland and Lithuania, the most expensive and largest project that is part of the wide plan to synchronize the Baltic electricity grids with continental Europe, Litgrid officially confirmed on Monday.
Earlier in the day, BNS reported about that, citing four sources.
Such an alternative could allow having a commercially important electricity link put in place earlier than 2030 and it would be much cheaper to do. However, such an alternative would require a political agreement between Vilnius and Warsaw and the approval of the European Commission.
The search for a new solution for Harmony Link are not believed to be linked to the incidents in the Baltic Sea in early October when a gas pipeline and a telecommunications cable between Finland and Estonia were damaged.
The search for a cheaper alternative became relevant after contractors’ bids for Harmony Link exceeded the 680 million euros budget planned by the Lithuanian and Polish TSOs, Litgrid and PSE, almost 2.5 times, which led to the cancellation of the planned tenders last spring as the TSOs decided against increasing the project’s budget, and also agreed to split future tenders and negotiate with the EC on additional funding.
Litgrid CEO Rokas Masiulis earlier told BNS that the Harmony Link HVDC cable would not be completed until the beginning of next decade after it was initially scheduled to be put in place by 2025 and then delayed until 2027-2028.
Lithuanian Energy Minister Dainius Kreivys has recently told BNS that the project could be accelerated by expected “good news” from Brussels.
“I don’t want to go into details right now, but we are currently talking with the European Commission about various things. Really very intense work is ongoing and I think that probably in one or two months there will be very significant and good news in this area, which might even allow us to say that the interconnection between Poland and Lithuania will be in place by 2028,” Kreivys said in an interview to BNS.
Under the contract signed in May 2020, PSE and Litgrid split the work on the project worth around 680 million euros, with Litgrid responsible for the installation of the HVDC cable in the Baltic Sea, and PSE responsible for the construction of the converter stations in Lithuania and Poland.
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