The electric power bridge between Poland and Lithuania is one of the major projects across the EU, targeted at interconnecting the European energy grid. It is on top of the agenda for the Baltic States. This initiative will put an end to the isolation the Baltic States from the power grid of the rest of Europe, connecting energy transmission infrastructures and further integrating the European energy market.
LitPol Link” coordinates international preparatory and construction works related to the realization of interconnection between Poland and Lithuania through an overhead double-circuit 400kV transmission line connecting Alytus and Ełk, 500 MW back-to-back station and 400 kV switch yard in Alytus, and upgraded stations 400/110 kV in Ełk and 330/110 kV in Alytus. The new power interconnection will integrate the power system of Lithuania and other Baltic States into the synchronous grid of Continental Europe. Successful implementation of this energy project is one of the key strategic achievements of the European Union. Prof. Władysław Mielczarski, President of the Supervisory Board of “LitPol Link” Sp. z o.o
The construction project of the electric power interconnection between Poland and Lithuania is the cornerstone of creating a common European energy market by closing the so-called Baltic Ring. That is why the European Union applied the priority status for the project in the Decision No. 1364/2006/EC and participates in its funding. The project will bring benefits to a number of European countries in the region: Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia. The EC decision emphasizes that the European Community supports cross-border interconnections, interoperability and development of trans-European energy networks in order to achieve effective operation and development of the energy market, facilitate the development and end the isolation of regions, as well as reinforce the security of energy supplies.
The project to close the Baltic Ring has been categorized as an investment of strategic importance for the European Union, and specifically for the Trans-European Energy Network (TEN-E). Poland and Lithuania both have received EU funding support for preparatory and construction phase works in the project. Investments in Poland were also funded by the Infrastructure and Environment Operational Programme (EU). Lithuania received contribution from the Ignalina International Decommissioning Support Fund managed by the EBRD. Due to the contributions granted by international financial institutions, international supervision measures have been in place to monitor the progress of the project.
The Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2013 provided an opportunity to present and disseminate information about the achievements implemented as part of joint infrastructural projects between Poland and Lithuania. Apart from the LitPol Link power interconnection, both countries are deeply engaged in other important initiatives, including Via Baltica, Rail Baltica, and the Gas Interconnection Poland–Lithuania, GIPL. All top-EU projects, both international and local, demonstrate the scale and the pattern with which two neighbouring countries can cooperate to bring priority EU projects into existence.
The Poland - Lithuania power grid connection project is truly international also through the involvement of companies from across the world. All contractors and suppliers were selected in open public tenders published on EU websites. The investment attracted attention of businesses from Europe, as well as Asia and America.
Effective implementation of this major project translates into a positive image of two EU Member States as being capable of successfully cooperating with each other over an infrastructural project of common European interest. This positive climate radiates to other spheres of international exchange. More open approach to information sharing is a major step towards more trusting relationships as well as closer cultural and business ties, which are the best weapon against prejudice and stereotypes feeding on ignorance.
The new LitPol Link power interconnection will help fulfil strategic international goals at national, regional and EU level, offering the following benefits in return:
- interconnection of the Polish and Lithuanian power grids (by upgrading power grids in north-east of Poland and southern Lithuania);
- integration of the Baltic States (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) electricity systems into the synchronous grid of Continental Europe;
- closing the Baltic Power Ring;
- reinforcement of the power independence of both countries;
- new opportunities for electricity supplies and energy self-dependence;
- higher reliability and continuity of electricity supplies across the region;
- further consolidation of common European energy market;
- assistance in creating new ways of energy trading on the European energy market.