Baltic Wind Connector Project To be Developed Between Germany and Estonia
50Hertz, the German electricity transmission system operator (TSO), and its counterparts from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on Tuesday have agreed to jointly develop a hybrid submarine cable project “Baltic WindConnector” in the Baltic Sea between Estonia and Germany.
In a Letter of Intent (LoI), 50 Hertz and Elering (Estonia) have agreed in principle on a joint hybrid submarine cable project called Baltic Wind Connector in the Baltic Sea between Estonia and Germany.
The CEOs Stefan Kapferer (50Hertz), Taavi Veskimagi (Elering, Estonia), Gunta Jekabsone (AST, Latvia) and Tomas Varneckas (Litgrid, Lithuania) signed the LoI at Baltic Offshore Wind Forum held in Berlin on Tuesday.
The event was jointly organised by the German Federal Foreign Office, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the German Energy Agency (dena).
The Baltic Wind Connector will have a length of around 750 km and will land on the coast of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. With a hybrid interconnector, wind farms feed their electricity into a grid system that can also be used for European electricity trading.
For this purpose, it is necessary to build one or more converter facilities off the mainland coast of Estonia, where the electricity can be collected, transformed to a higher voltage level, converted into direct current, and then transported to the connected countries as required.
In addition to the utilisation of green power potential through the connection of future large offshore wind farms off the Estonian Baltic Sea coast, both countries and central Europe are expected to benefit from an increase in the security of supply.
At the same time, Estonia has the chance to become an exporting country of green electricity for the European electricity market. The advantage for Germany is to diversify its sources of green electricity to achieve climate neutrality by 2045 and to almost decarbonise its industry completely.
Stefan Kapferer said that the Baltic Sea still offers a lot of potential for the expansion of offshore wind energy and therefore for transnational projects in order to tap this potential as efficiently as possible via hybrid interconnectors or energy islands.
“Cooperation with the Baltic states and their stronger connection to the continental European electricity interconnection system is important for a climate-neutral Europe and of great importance in terms of security policy. The Baltic Wind Connector is intended to be a first important step on this path,” he said.
With a hybrid interconnector, wind farms feed their electricity into a transmission system that can also be used for European electricity trading and fulfils a dual function.
This requires the construction of one or more converter plants off the coast of Estonia, where the electricity can be accumulated, wound up to a higher voltage level, converted to direct current, and then transported to the connected countries according to demand.
Taavi Veskimagi, Chairman of the board of Elering, said that Estonia has significantly more resources for the development of offshore wind farms than is needed to ensure our own security of supply.
“The analyses will show us whether the electricity connection with Germany, as a large consumption centre, will allow us to increase the export potential here without spending the Estonian consumer’s money,” Veskimagi added.
Meshed Offshore Grids
The German TSO also plans to intensify its cooperation with Latvia and Lithuania. The declarations on cooperation were signed during the Baltic Offshore Wind Forum. The second LoI between 50Hertz and the TSOs from Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia aims to facilitate cooperation in the offshore sector in various constellations.
Behind this is the vision of realising so-called “meshed offshore grids” off the coasts of Lithuania and Latvia, through which electricity can be brought onshore efficiently and in line with market requirements.
50Hertz is a pioneer in this field and is already working closely with the Danish grid operator Energinet in the Baltic Sea.
Together, the companies operate the hybrid interconnector Combined Grid Solution – Kriegers Flak. 50Hertz and Energinet also want to develop the Bornholm Energy Island project, an electricity hub on the Baltic Sea Island of Bornholm, through which wind power will flow to Germany and Denmark according to demand.