Estlink underwater cable project is launched

2005-04-29 - ABB to deliver its unique HVDC Light technology for power link between Finland and Estonia

Zurich, Switzerland, April 29, 2005 – A major power transmission link between Finland and Estonia was formally launched today at a signing ceremony between representatives of ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, and of Nordic Energy Link in the Estonian capital, Tallinn.

The European Commission gave the go-ahead for the project on April 27, approving an exemption which will charge Nordic Energy Link for the cable’s construction rather than adding the costs to the domestic tariffs of the main grids. The exemption has already been approved by electricity market regulators in Estonia and Finland.

Estlink is about 100 kilometers long, 75 kilometers of which is underwater cable and the rest is underground cable (9 km in Estonia and 20 km in Finland). It will use ABB’s high-voltage direct current (HVDC) Light technology, linking Harku 330 kV substation (Estonia) and Espoo 400 kV substation (Finland).

The project is worth $110 million for ABB. "The project highlights, how HVDC Light - ABB's unique technology for underground and underwater power transmission - can help to extend and strengthen Europe’s electricity market," said Peter Smits, head of the ABB Power Technologies division. "HVDC Light is technology for the future, available now."

Estlink - the first interconnection between the Baltics and Nordic electricity markets - forms part of the European Union’s plans to expand interconnections in Europe, and is an important step towards increasing energy efficiency.

The signing of the contract marks the official start of the cable’s construction. Marko Allikson, a representative of Nordic Energy Link and a member of the management board for Eesti Energia said: "This key project is the result of several years of negotiations and highlights our successful cooperation with partners and ABB."

Interconnections between grids increase grid reliability and help to prevent blackouts. The EU is seeking to build more interconnections to create a single integrated electricity market and to increase cross-border electricity exchange. Interconnections also enhance local industry's competitiveness and benefit the consumer by increasing competition and driving down electricity prices.

ABB is committed to deliver the high-end technology in record time - in this case less than 20 months. The project is due to be completed by the end of 2006.

ABBs cable technology is environmentally friendly because it uses compact converter stations, incorporates oil-free, lightweight cables and avoids electromagnetic fields.

Estlink is designed to supply the Nordic electricity market with electricity generated in the Baltics. An estimated 2 TWh of electricity will be transported via the cable.

The importance of the project lies, primarily, in the improved security of electricity supply in the Baltic states. Estlink allows for electricity transit and provides an alternative electricity purchase channel to cover potential deficits in generating capacity.

The partners in the Estlink project are the three Baltic power utilities — Eesti Energia, Latvenergo, Lietuvos Energija — as well as Pohjolan Voima and Helsinkin Energia of Finland.

ABB (www.abb.com) is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 102,000 people.

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    Interconnections between grids increase grid reliability and help to prevent blackouts.

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