Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania take major step towards full energy independence

The Connecting Europe Facility’s largest ever grant should allow the three Baltic states to gain full control of their electricity networks by 2025.

The European Union has agreed to provide Poland and the Baltic states with a grant worth 719.7 million euros to carry out phase two of a project to link the electricity networks of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania with the Continental European Network (CEN).

The project aims to better integrate the electricity grids of the three Baltic states with those of the rest of Europe and ensure their energy independence from third countries. While in recent years Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have ended their electricity isolation by building new interconnections with Finland, Poland and Sweden, for historical reasons, their electricity grid is still operated in a synchronous mode with the Russian and Belarusian systems (commonly known as the BRELL ring).

Full control

This synchronisation project will allow the three Baltic states to gain full control of their electricity networks and to strengthen the energy security, allowing their systems to operate under common and transparent European rules to the benefit of all the consumers in the Baltic States.

Other EU member states from Central and Eastern Europe, including Bulgaria, Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, synchronised their systems with CEN between 1995 and 2004.

European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson said the agreement marks a decisive step in the Baltic synchronisation process, a project of strategic European interest that needs to be completed by the end of 2025.

“This will ensure not only the full integration of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania into the internal energy market, but also facilitate the take-up of renewable energy in the Baltic states and Poland, helping them achieve their European Green Deal objectives,” said Simson.

Harmony Link

The new grant will be mainly dedicated to the construction of the so-called Harmony Link – an electricity cable connecting Poland and Lithuania through the Baltic Sea. The cable will become a building block that will allow for the integration of offshore renewable energy resources.

This funding will also cover synchronous condensers in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and reinforcements of the Polish grid that will ensure the full functionality of the Harmony Link and safe operation of the system.

The grant is the largest ever offered by the under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), a key EU funding instrument to promote growth, jobs and competitiveness through targeted infrastructure investment at European level.

It supports the development of high performing, sustainable and efficiently interconnected trans-European networks in the fields of transport, energy and digital services, filling in the missing links in Europe’s energy, transport and digital backbone.

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