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The fully upgraded Balti-Tartu high-voltage line was energised on Tuesday, which makes it the first of the investments completed within the scope of the major synchronisation project. The price of the works was ca €35 million.

The upgrades of the Tartu-Valmiera overhead line will also be completed in a few months. The Balti-Tartu and Tartu-Valmiera lines together form one Estonian-Latvian link, and the completion of the upgrades will make it possible to start the full reconstruction of another Soviet-era link with Latvia as early as this summer.

“Upgrading the lines in the direction of Latvia is essential so that we can disconnect ourselves from the electricity system controlled by Russia and join the European frequency area with Latvia and Lithuania,” said member of the Elering management board Kalle Kilk. “These are the connections that will link the Baltic power networks more strongly into a single entity and also form a ‘power highway’ to Central Europe.”

The Balti-Tartu high-voltage line received new masts and lines over 133 kilometres. In addition to the powerful 330-kilovolt transit line, it also carries the conductors of several 110-kilovolt overhead lines of local importance.

Placing two lines on the same masts allowed Elering to dismantle 150 kilometres of obsolete 110-kilovolt overhead lines. This change concerns around 750 hectares of land, which landowners will be able to use without restrictions from now on.

Elering funded the upgrades of the Balti-Tartu line from both European Union (EU) funds and income from auctioning transmission capacities. Rates for Estonian consumers will not be raised by the cost of the upgrades. The main contractors for the line upgrades are Enersense and Leonhard Weiss.

Preparations for connecting Estonia and the other Baltic states to the Continental European power system and frequency area should be completed by the end of 2025. Although the corona crisis and Russian aggression in Ukraine have made construction activities and the accessibility of materials more complicated, the major synchronisation projects remain on their originally planned schedules.

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