Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have signed a political agreement establishing a roadmap towards synchronizing the Baltic states’ power grids with that of the continental European Union via Poland, the European Commission announced on June 28.
The Baltic states’ power grids are still part of the IPS/UPS grid area that is essentially a remnant of the Soviet Union, of which the Baltic states were a part until the early 1990s.
Since 2004, three grid links have been built to enable electricity flows between the Baltic states and Poland, Sweden, and Finland in order to end the Baltics’ status as an “energy island”. However, in terms of frequency and other technical aspects of grid functioning, the Baltic networks are still part of ISP/UPS, controlled by Russia.
From the point of view of the EU, the disconnect of the Baltic states from the bulk of the EU grid is a major obstacle to the so-called Energy Union, a project to establish a common electricity market in the bloc.
For Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, having the frequency and other technical issues of their power grids decided and managed by Moscow is a geopolitical risk. The Baltic states also complain of a lack of transparency and being kept in the dark by Russia about plans for upgrades and other decisions concerning the IPS/UPS.
The roadmap was signed in Brussels by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of Lithuania, and the prime ministers of Poland, Latvia and Estonia.
The synchronization is set for completion in 2025, according to the roadmap. The next step comes in September when the Polish and Baltic states' transmission system operators (TSOs) formally launch the sync process.
The synchronization will be via the existing grid link between Lithuania and Poland, complemented by a new undersea cable between the two countries and a number of other technical solutions to “ensure the full stability and security of the electricity system, reasonable costs and market functioning,” the Commission said in a statement.
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