VILNIUS — The European Union officially gave the green light for the NordBalt electrical connection on Tuesday, voting to allocate €131 million for the project.
The money will pay for the connection between Nydro, Sweden and Klaipėda, Lithuania, which will run under the Baltic Sea. The project is being co-managed by Svenska Kraftnaet and the Lithuanian national energy company Lietuvos Energija.
The NordBalt project, which was approved in June, will cost €550 million in total.
The 450 km cable will have a 700 megawatt capacity and should be complete by 2015, connecting the Baltic energy grid, considered an “energy island” in Europe due to infrastructure characteristics inherited from the Soviet era, to the NORDEL grid of the Nordic countries.
The Baltic states are the only European Union member states that remain part of the IPS/UPS grid, which includes Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and other former Soviet countries.
The power cable that will run along the Baltic Sea seabed will give Lithuania and Latvia a connection to the western electricity networks NORDEL and UCTE, as even though Lithuania borders Poland it is still not connected to Poland’s power grid.
Lithuania has been left in the hands of Russia for its energy needs following the shutdown of the Ignalina nuclear power plant at the start of the year. It now uses gas from Russia to power its heat and electricity plants.
The Baltic states last year inaugurated the open Baltic energy market, removing tariffs for international energy sales.
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