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Two months remain until the completion of the biggest joint Swedish and Lithuanian project NordBalt. In December the electricity produced in Scandinavia will be transmitted directly to Lithuania for the first time in history. King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden along with the President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė evaluated the NordBalt implementation progress while visiting the construction site of the NordBalt high voltage direct current (HVDC) converter station in Klaipėda.
Nordbalt cable
Nordbalt cable
© Organizatorių nuotr.

Currently, the NordBalt HVDC converter station is being installed with the main equipment and the installation works in the direct current, valve and reactor halls are almost completed.

“Because of smooth implementation NordBalt became the synonym of success in Lithuania. The first Lithuanian power interconnection with Sweden begins the new era in Lithuanian energy sector and the powerful infrastructure will provide more energy security for six million Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians”, said Daivis Virbickas, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Litgrid, the Lithuanian electricity transmission system operator.

It is expected that the electricity will initially flow in the direction of Lithuania when NordBalt starts to operate. The prices in the Lithuanian and Latvian wholesale electricity market are forecasted to drop around 20 percent as the electricity flows from the lower price area to the higher one. Lithuania and Latvia currently pay the highest price for electricity in the Nordic electricity market.

In both ends of the 453 km long NordBalt cable two almost identical HVDC converter stations were erected. The converter in Klaipėda is connected to the 330 kilovolt transformer substation and the converter in Nybro – to the 400 kilovolt transformer substation. The global technology company ABB designed, produced and installed both the undersea cable as well as the converters.

In these huge buildings, equivalent to six-storey houses, critical processes will take place – the electricity transmitted between the two asynchronous Lithuanian and Swedish electricity systems will be transformed from the direct current to alternating current which then will enter the respective national grids.

“The Lithuanian and Swedish interconnection is not only the largest common investment in the energy sector, but also an inspiring example for cooperation in the future. The new experience, skills and knowledge helped to bring what we call a Scandinavian quality of work into our energy and construction sectors”, noted Mr. Virbickas.

The estimated project cost is 550 million euros with the assistance of the European Union amounting to 131 million euros. The remaining investment is divided equally between Lithuania and Sweden. With the capacity of 700 megawatts, NordBalt will open the access to the largest electricity market in Europe for Lithuania, increasing the supply of Scandinavian electricity in the Baltic countries by 70 %. NordBalt will be jointly operated by Litgrid and the Swedish TSO Svenska kraftnät.

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