Elering is applying for a national designated spatial plan for determining the conditions for constructing the Estonian-Latvian electricity connection
Elering has submitted an application to the Ministry of Regional Affairs and Agriculture for initiating the creation of a national designated spatial plan. The purpose of the plan is to determine whether and how it would be feasible to construct the part of the fourth Estonian-Latvian electricity connection situated in Estonia from Paide through Saaremaa to Sõrve peninsula.
As Saaremaa does not currently have a powerful 330 kilovolt power grid, the new connection assumes the construction of such a grid on Saaremaa and its strong interconnection with the power lines situated on the mainland. The new connection would start from Paide substation in Central Estonia. New 330 kilovolt power lines would have to be constructed from Paide to Virtsu via Lihula, reaching the western coast of Saaremaa, from where a submarine cable towards Latvia would start. The route of the submarine cable between Estonia and Latvia will be chosen with a superficies licence separate from the planning process.
“The purpose of the planned national designated spatial plan is to find out whether and under what conditions it would be possible to construct a 330 kilovolt power grid from Paide to Saaremaa. Building the new Latvian connection via Saaremaa would allow us to ensure a maximum potential increase in the capacity between the two countries at the lowest cost,” said Kalle Kilk, Chairman of the Management Board of Elering.
A final decision on constructing the new connection via Saaremaa has not yet been made. First, the government must decide on initiating the plan. Then, the planning process must be conducted along with the assessment of social, economic, cultural and environment impact. “Even though the connection with Latvia via Saaremaa seems the preferable solution in technological and economic aspects according to the preliminary assessment, the final decision on constructing the connection can only be made after the state has brought into effect the national designated spatial plan and a route has been found for all new power lines that takes into consideration any potential significant impact,” added Kilk.
The guideline for determining the possibilities for constructing the new connection via Saaremaa was given by the representative of the owner of Elering, i.e. the Minister of Climate. The new connection to be constructed will improve the security of supply and create possibilities for receiving higher quantities of renewable energy in the Western Estonian grid, thereby helping achieve the goals of climate neutrality established by the state.
Entrepreneurs connected to Saaremaa as well as Saaremaa Municipality itself have shown interest in the construction of Elering’s 330 kilovolt power line on Saaremaa. They have indicated that they see the connection as an essential element in developing business, including renewable energy.
Mikk Tuisk, Rural Municipality Mayor of Saaremaa, noted that the 330 kilovolt power grid would significantly increase the competitiveness of businesses on Saaremaa and render the present investment environment much more attractive. “The current 110 kilovolt power line ending at Sikassaare has become rather antiquated as it does not allow connecting renewable energy producers to the grid or bringing business with high electricity requirements to the island. Improving the security of supply of electricity and increasing the production of energy from renewable sources means new opportunities for Saaremaa. Hopefully, the Ministry of Regional Affairs and Agriculture, which is organising the national designated spatial plan, will reach a solution in cooperation with landowners that results in Saaremaa obtaining a more powerful electricity grid than the current one,” explained Tuisk.
The overland electricity connection is mainly planned by means of 330 kilovolt overhead power lines. Underground cable lines are planned in locations where overhead power lines cannot be built. A submarine cable will be situated in the marine area. Substations must also be planned. The locations of the routes of the potential new power lines and the necessity for the acquisition of land therefor will be determined in the course of the proceedings related to the national designated spatial plan. All interested parties are able to participate in the planning process. The Ministry of Regional Affairs and Agriculture will give more detailed notice of this after the process has been initiated.