The project includes the reconstruction of existing 330kV interconnections between Estonia and Latvia Valmiera (LV) – Tartu (EE) and Valmiera (LV) – Tsirgulina (EE), which are combined into one activity.
Both mentioned electricity transmission lines have been built in the 60s and 70s of the last century, the standards took into account during their construction no longer meet the requirements of current operation, for example, the differences in transmission capacity during the winter and summer seasons hinder the effective functioning of electricity market. These electricity transmission lines must be completely replaced with new increased capacity lines to provide higher total electricity transmission capacity in the North-South direction of the Baltic region. The project is supported by the transmission system operators (TSO) of Latvia and Estonia and it is included in the electricity transmission system development plan of Latvia and the Pan European ten year network development plan (TYNDP), prepared by ENTSO-E.
Together with this project, Estonian TSO will continue the reconstruction of existing 330 kV electricity transmission lines in Estonia in accordance with existing operational requirements, increasing their transmission capacity. The reconstruction of both interconnection is aimed at providing sufficient infrastructure for the energy independence of the Baltic States from the Russian Integrated Power system/United Power System (IPS/UPS) and is a prerequisite for successful Baltic electricity systems synchronization with electricity transmission networks of Continental Europe.
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The implementation of both projects, i.e. "Interconnection Valmiera (LV) - Tartu (EE)" and "Interconnection Valmiera (LV) – Tsirguliina (EE)" is planned to start in Latvian territory after 2020, when the third Estonian-Latvian interconnection project will be commissioned. In order not to reduce the existing transmission capacity on the cross-border between Estonia and Latvia, the TSOs of Latvia and Estonia have developed reconstruction plan for 330kV electricity transmission lines in Latvia and Estonia to reinforce the power transmission network for the synchronization with Continental Europe, which is planned to be implemented after the commissioning of the third Estonian-Latvian 330 kV interconnection project.
It is planned to start the reconstruction of the interconnection "Valmiera-Tartu" together with the Estonian TSO in middle of 2022 in the territories of Latvia and Estonia and the reconstruction of the interconnection "Valmiera-Tsirguliina" is planned to be started in 2023 after the reconstruction of "Valmiera-Tartu" in the territory of Latvia only, because the electricity transmission line in Estonia has already been reconstructed. Till 2022 the preparation works and studies as well as permitting procedures receiving processes will be carried out.
At the beginning of 2018, the initial environmental impact assessment for both electricity transmission lines in Latvian territory has been performed, based on initial environmental impact assessment application, prepared by AS "Augstsprieguma tīkls" and submitted to the Environmental State Service (ESS) on January 8, 2018. After evaluation of application ESS Valmiera Regional Environmental Board on March 5, 2018 issued a decision on not apply the full environmental impact assessment (EIA) procedure for both electricity transmission lines in territory of Latvia and on March 12, 2018 the ESS issued technical regulations, which must be take into account during the reconstruction process of both electricity transmission lines.
Both electricity transmission lines are included in the list of projects of common interest (PCI), developed and approved, according European Parliament and European Council Regulation No 347/2013. Both projects are the part of the Baltic Synchronization Cluster No.4.8 where the Valmiera (LV) - Tartu (EE) interconnection project has PCI No. 4.8.1 and the Valmiera (LV) - Tsirguliina (EE) interconnection has PCI No. 4.8.3. More information on the PCI list can be found here.
On January 23, 2019, the European Commission CEF (Connecting Europe Facility) Coordination Committee decided to allocate 75% co-financing to the "Baltic Synchronization Project Phase 1", where electricity transmission interconnections "Valmiera (LV) – Tartu (EE)" and "Valmiera (LV) - Tsirguliina (EE)" are included as a part of the project, meaning that the reconstruction of both electricity transmission lines in the territory of Latvia will be carried out with 75% European co-financing.