The Baltic power system and market changes

Background and context

The energy policy of the Baltic States is integrated in the energy strategy of the European Union for secure, competitive and sustainable energy. Energy security and energy independence targets in the EU trigger seeking for alternative power sources for the Baltic area. Full integration into the European grid and market is a priority for the Baltic States, since - for historical reasons - the Baltic integrated power system (BIPS) operates synchronously with the Integrated/Unified Power System (IPS/UPS), which also includes the Russian and Belorussian electricity grids.

The power generation landscape in the Baltics changed dramatically at the beginning of 2010, when the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (1500 MW) in Lithuania was shut down. It used to cover almost 40% of the overall consumption of the Baltic countries. The interconnection of the Baltic States with the EU electricity market increased with Estlink 1 and 2 lines between Estonia and Finland, the LitPol Link line between Lithuania and Poland and the Nordbalt line between Sweden and Lithuania. The construction of new power interconnections to the European grid will improve the energy security of the region and the competitiveness of its power market. This transition  however is a complex and onerous process.

Our role

Against this background, we

  • address several technical, economic and social issues relating to the Baltic power system and market developments. 

2017 - Integration of the Baltic States into the EU electricity system - A technical and economic analysis

This study (its executive summary can be downloaded here), served as scientific basis for the political discussion among the policy decision makers in the Baltic area - held in the context of the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan (BEMIP) group - on the preferred Baltic-EU power grid synchronisation solution.

Three Baltic-Russia/Belarus power system de-synchronisation scenarios are assessed, looking in particular at alternative conditions of the Baltic power grid in terms of:

(i) no synchronisation with any of the neighbouring systems,

(ii) synchronisation with the Nordic system,

and (iii) synchronisation with the Continental European Network (CEN).

The three scenarios are compared over the 2025 and 2030 horizons. The options diverge due to costs of additional fuel and infrastructure. The third option, Baltic-CEN synchronisation, emerges as the most techno-economically cost-effective.

2017 - Electricity independence of the Baltic States: Present and future perspectives

This paper proposes a framework with methodologies to assess the electricity independence of the Baltic States, in order to support analysis for the energy policy making. Due to historical and geographical reasons, the Baltic States are strongly interconnected to power transmission grids of Russia and Belarus. Current energy security policies and electricity interconnection targets in the EU trigger the need for studying and implementing alternative electricity supply options and power system configuration schemes for the Baltic countries.

To comprehensively assess the electricity independence, we calculated three indices: “adequacy”, “security” and “economic factor”. The proposed framework and methodologies are applied for assessing the electricity independence of the Baltic States in the present (2014) and future scenarios: mid-term (2020), and long-term (2030) time frame.

The results show that the planned generation capacities are adequate to cover future electricity demand in the Baltic States in 2020 and 2030. Under the current electricity grid planning, power distribution in some local areas is limited in the future scenarios. Additional grid investments are necessary to maintain high levels of power supply security in 2020/30.

2017 - Multi-criteria selection of offshore wind farms: Case study for the Baltic States

This paper (whose results can be also checked via this interactive map) presents a multi-criteria selection approach for offshore wind sites assessment. The proposed site selection framework takes into consideration the following aspects: electricity network security conditions, economic investments, operation costs and capacity performances relative to each potential site.

The selection decision is made through the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), endowed with an intrinsic flexibility that aims to allow end users to adjust the expected benefits according to their respective and global priorities. The proposed site selection framework is implemented as an interactive case study for three Baltic States in the 2020 time horizon, based on real data and extensive power network models, taking into consideration the foreseen upgrades and network reinforcements.

For each country the optimal offshore wind sites are assessed under multiple weight contribution scenarios, reflecting the characteristics of the market design, the regulatory framework or the renewable integration targets.

2016 - Smart Grid Challenges and Opportunities in the Baltic Region

This workshop (agenda and presentations are available here) aimed to facilitate an exchange about the implementation of the Smart Specialisation (S3) priorities related to Smart Grids in the Baltic region.

Our team regularly monitors the transition of the EU power network towards future digital grids, observing advances, developing models and making analyses.

The event addressed specific instances of how S3 regions are preparing the ground for smart grid deployment, including interrregional cooperation as a key driver to support S3 implementation and the effective uptake of the Cohesion Policy Funds for smart srids.

The workshop offered an opportunity for the industry, research & innovation sectors, regional authorities and other stakeholders to exchange good practices and innovative concepts supporting S3 and energy policy in the Baltic region. The event was organised by the JRC in the framework of the Smart Specialisation Platform on Energy (S3PEnergy). Close collaboration of the Latvian Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Riga Technical University turned this event into a key step towards interregional cooperation on smart specialisation priorities related to smart grids.

2016 - The Baltic power system between East and West interconnections

This report is based on a power system model of the Baltic States developed with the purpose of assessing comparative options for a reliable and secure development of the Baltic electricity system. The analysis of horizon 2020 and 2030 showed that the dependency of Baltic States on external resources is fairly low, provided that the expansion of the electricity system proceeds as planned.

The study was conducted with the objective of understanding the competitiveness of the three Baltic countries individually, while considering the network infrastructure constraints. To assess options for enhanced energy security, we developed a dedicated power system model covering the 330 kV, 220 kV and 110 kV network and including four scenarios: winter peak, winter off-peak, summer peak and summer off-peak.

The foreseen expansion of electricity generation sources in the Baltic countries will result in fairly low dependence on electricity imports by 2020 and 2030. The report shows that Lithuania's network infrastructure is adequate and can sustain a large quantity of imports. The Latvian power system enjoys more market advantages due to the high ratio of renewable energy (mainly hydro) in its electricity generation mix. Estonia relies on its own fossil oil shale and has the highest installed wind turbine capacity among the three Baltic States, but it does not have enough capacity to ensure the same strategic market position of Latvia. Future nuclear generation in Visaginas can greatly improve security of electricity supply in the Baltic States. Even in its absence, the Baltic States can still count on alternatives for power generation, although with a decreased security margin, if not supplemented by other balancing resources (like cross-border interconnections, storage capacity, demand response).

2015 - Long-term HVDC developments in the European power system: The Baltic case in GridTech analysis

This paper focuses on the planned and potential HVDC developments concerning the Baltic region, paying particular attention to the long-term (2030–2050).

In the field of electric power transmission, HVDC (High Voltage Direct Current) is a well-established technology, presenting characteristics that have made it widely attractive over HVAC (High Voltage Alternating Current) for specific applications. Currently, recent advances in power electronics, coupled with the traditional features of HVDC, are contributing to boost the penetration of HVDC through further applications in the European power system.

To this purpose, after an analysis of the Baltic scenario's evolution, some results derived from the European GridTech project are presented and discussed.



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