Polish-Lithuanian link connects Baltic electricity networks to the European grid

The Polish-Lithuanian power link integrates the power systems of the Baltic States into the continental European grid, diversifying electricity supplies and contributing to establishment of a connected cross-border European electricity market. This increases the reliability of supply for consumers and by allowing power exchange between Poland and the Baltic States, opens up new energy trading opportunities and eliminates Lithuania's dependence on one main provider.

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Electricity substation built as part of the Polish-Lithuanian power link © Marcin Stokowski, PSE S.A. Electricity substation built as part of the Polish-Lithuanian power link © Marcin Stokowski, PSE S.A.

" The new power interconnection integrated the power systems of Lithuania and the other Baltic States into the synchronous grid of continental Europe. The Poland-Lithuania interconnection is one of the strategic priorities of the European Union which strengthens the reliability and continuity of power supply, and opens up new commercial opportunities in energy trading. "

Beata Jarosz, PSE S.A. spokesman, Polish Transmission System Operator

The link between the Polish and Lithuanian grids completes the Baltic Ring, a chain of electricity interconnections around the Baltic Sea. It includes construction of four transmission lines of 400 km in overall length and five electricity substations, with a further two substations being extended.

A total of 447 towers have been put up, of which 297 are in Poland and 150 are in Lithuania, to support a 112 km 400 kilovolt (kV) transmission line from Ełk in Poland to the Polish-Lithuanian border and a 51 km line from Alytus in Lithuania to the border.

Combining two electricity systems

The new 500 megawatt converter station and 400 kV substation at Alytus combine two independent electricity systems: the Polish system, which works within the continental European network, and the Lithuanian system, which operates with the systems used in the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Existing substations in Alytus and Ełk were retrofitted to support distribution in the new system and their transmission capacity was tested prior to commissioning. Other developments include construction of substations at Ołtarzew and Stanisławów; erecting a power line between Ostrołęka and Narew and expansion of substations at both ends; construction of substations at Łomża and Ełk Bis and a power line connecting them; and erecting a line from Miłosna to a new substation at Siedlce Ujrzanów.

A Polish-Lithuanian enterprise

To facilitate implementation, LitPol Link, a company co-owned by the Polish and Lithuanian transmission system operators, was set up, with each operator equally represented on the board. Its mission was to define and prepare the routes of the new lines, evaluate environmental impacts, deal with land ownership issues, permits and licenses, prepare and coordinate technical features of interconnection and coordinate international aspects of the work.

A number of other parties were involved in the project including EU institutions, national ministries, local councils, non-governmental organisations, communities, auditing bodies and contractors, making an effective cooperation platform vital. Working out common technical parameters for connection of the two systems was necessary to ensure failure-free operation, security of both systems, and smooth and efficient data and energy exchange.

Regulations were drawn up laying down conditions for operation, as were technical requirements and specifications, and formal requirements imposed by national law. Construction work took under two years and was finished by the end of 2015 in both countries.

Total investment and EU funding 

Total investment for the project “Polish – Lithuanian power link” is EUR 494 400 000, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 244 500 000 through the “Infrastructure and Environment” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.

Draft date