The Topaz Installer cable laying vessel has finished her work. In just a year and two months, with short interruptions, she laid 400 kilometres of NordBalt cable onto the bottom of the Baltic Sea. 90 percent of the link construction works have already been completed, reports energy company Litgrid.
NordBalt kabelį tiesiantis laivas
© Bendrovės archyvas

"We are successfully pursuing our main goal - to be connected to the Northern Europe where the largest European power market operates by 1 January 2016. Lithuania imports about two thirds of the consumed electricity, so the opportunity to purchase more electricity from Scandinavia, which is rich in hydro resources, will provide the pre-conditions for lowering the price of wholesale electricity. In Lithuania this power connection will become the synonym of opportunities to choose, competition and cooperation in electricity energy sector," said Daivis Virbickas, CEO and Board Chairman of Litgrid, the Lithuanian electricity transmission system operator.

The last kilometres of the HVDC cable laying near the coast of Sweden were complex from a technical point of view, since the seabed of the Baltic Sea is rocky there. The excavation work of a ditch where the cable was lowered started in April. The cable will be protected by concrete blocks from the ice in winter. The submarine cable will be connected with the land cable that run 40km under the ground to the transformer substation in Nybro, where the HVDC converter is being constructed. The converter will convert the direct current to alternating current, and vice versa.

Starting in May, the Grand Canyon II vessel joined in the construction works in the sea. Her task is to protect the cable by applying the high pressure water jet underneath it and making it gradually sink into the seabed. These works will last throughout the summer. The places where the cable is still unprotected are guarded by vessels that signal other vessels about the cable. Currently, seven such vessels are in the Baltic Sea, with two of them operating within the Lithuanian economic zone.

The cable laying works were resumed in April this year. Last year, 250 kilometres of NordBalt cable were laid. In total, 900 km of cable were produced. Two direct current power cables and a fibre optic cable were laid in the Baltic Sea and under the ground.

NordBalt is the first Lithuanian electric power link with Scandinavia. The 453 kilometre-long cable will connect the Klaipėda and Nybro transformer substations. With a 700 megawatt capacity, the NordBalt undersea link will connect the Baltic States to the Northern Europe power infrastructure, and the ability of the Baltic States to import Scandinavian electricity will increase by 70 percent.

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