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Elering has launched procurements for renovating three 330 kV overhead lines across Estonia and building the synchronous condensers it will need to join the continental European electricity system.

Elering is launching procurements for establishing synchronous condensers at Viru, Püssi and Kiisa substations. Synchronous condensers are used for controlling frequency of a network. Their function is to add inertia to the system for moderating changes in frequency and thus allow the next measures to be applied in the frequency control process – in the case of an emergency, for example. The Estonian electrical system currently does not have any synchronous condensers .

Chairman of the Elering management board Taavi Veskimägi said the establishment of synchronous condensers and the renovation of the Estonia-Latvia overhead lines make up a prerequisite for keeping Estonia’s lights on when the Baltic states join the continental Europe frequency area. “In coming years, investments totalling an estimated 300 million euros will be made into the synchronous condensers and lines, allowing us not only to disconnect the power system from Russia, but to offer work to many companies in the energy sector,” Veskimägi said. The construction of synchronous condensers and lines will start in the beginning of next year and run until 2025.

In April, Elering already launched a public procurement to find a builder for the renovation of the Tartu-Valmiera 330-kilovolt high-voltage line from Tartu to the Estonian-Latvian border. In the near future, procurements will also start for the renovation of the Balti-Tartu and Viru-Tsirguliina 330-kilovolt lines. The paths of the line corridors will not change, but the more than 50-year-old infrastructure will be replaced with more modern equipment.

The renovations on the lines are currently planned to run from 2021 to 2025. The renovation of the lines is necessary to reinforce the transmission capacities in the north-south direction, which is also a key precondition for joining the continental European electricity system and frequency area.

To fund these investments, Elering will rely on European Union assistance and revenue from the sale of cross-border capacity, and thus the investment costs will not need to be passed on to the consumer in the form of network fees. Funding for the first stage of the investments from the Connecting Europe Facility has already been approved. Elering obtained the maximum 75% co-financing level, with 141 million euros of the 187-million-euro investment to be covered from the CEF. The application for funding the second stage will shortly be submitted by Elering to the European Commission together with Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

According to plans, the Baltics’ preparations for joining the continental Europe frequency area must be ready by the end of 2025. At the moment, the Baltic electricity systems are part of the united Russian electricity system, where the Russian transmission network controls the frequency. The transition to the continental European frequency area will give the Baltic states total control over their electricity system.

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