Lithuania Approves Undersea Swedish Power-Link Construction Plan

Lithuania’s government approved a plan to lay 450 kilometers (280 miles) of cable under the Baltic Sea to allow the region’s first power link with Sweden to start operating by the end of 2015.

The 700-megawatt capacity NordBalt link will be the world’s third-longest undersea power cable, with switching stations in Klaipeda, Lithuania, and Nybro, Sweden, the government in Vilnius said today in an e-mailed statement.

The European Union, which includes the NordBalt link on its list of strategic projects for connecting the 27-member bloc’s energy markets, will help finance the 550 million-euro ($716 million) project. The EU aims to eliminate the isolation of all states’ power and natural gas networks by 2015 in order to gain authority over the region’s energy policy.

“This link will ensure Lithuania’s ability to trade electricity with the the Nordic region,” the government said.

Horizontal drilling from the Curonian Spit at the seaport of Klaipeda into the Baltic Sea is planned to start in the autumn, and cable, which is now being made by ABB Ltd., will be installed starting in April 2014, according to the statement.

The project has been developed in consultation with the Curonian Spit National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and with other social stakeholders, Litgrid AB, Lithuania’s power-grid operator, said in a separate statement.

The EU is also supporting the construction of the 500-megawatt LitPol Link connection between Lithuania and neighboring Poland’s power system by the end of 2015.