The Kurzeme ring

The Kurzeme Ring is a project of energy infrastructure envisaging the construction of a 330 kV overhead high voltage power transmission line in the western part of Latvia to eliminate the impossibility of connecting increased capacity electricity producers and users in Kurzeme that have been there so far. The Kurzeme Ring constitutes a part of the larger Baltic - Nordic Countries project, NordBalt, within the implementation of which a DC underwater interconnection cable between Lithuania and Sweden has been successfully constructed and commissioned in 2016, ensuring closer integration of Baltic countries in the Nordic electricity market. 

Latvian transmission system operator Augstsprieguma tīkls AS is responsible for the implementation of the Kurzeme Ring project.

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Project events

Development

Under the stage three construction of the "Kurzeme Ring" power line from Ventspils to Riga it is planned to switch…

Development

The objectives of the transmission system operator of Latvia, as well as the objective of the common…

Kurzeme Ring - a part of the NordBalt project

The Kurzeme Ring constitutes a part of the larger NordBalt project, within the implementation of which an underwater interconnection cable between Lithuania and Sweden was successfully constructed and commissioned in 2016, ensuring closer integration of Baltic countries in the Nordic electricity market. Ensuring full functionality of the NordBalt project requires the reinforcement of transmission networks in Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden, which, in addition to cross-border increase, also improves the reliability of the electricity supply in all of the Baltics.

Ensuring full functionality of the NordBalt project requires the reinforcement of power transmission networks in Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden, which, in addition to increasing the cross-border transmission capacity, also improves reliability of the electricity supply in all of the Baltics. NordBalt, and thereby also the Kurzeme Ring included in it, is a part of the Baltic Electricity Market Interconnection Plan signed by and between the European Commission and high level governmental representatives of the Baltic Sea Region countries in 2009.

The total length of the Kurzeme Ring 330 kV power line is planned for about 330 km; transmission capacity – 800 MW; costs – about EUR 220 million, roughly half of which will be financed by co-funding from the European Commission - the funds from the European Energy Programme for Recovery and the Connection European Facility.

Construction of the Kurzeme Ring in Latvia is mainly necessary because the existing 110 kV power transmission network does not provide for sufficient reliability of the electricity supply in the Kurzeme Region. One could ascertain that in 2005 when the electricity supply to a large portion of residents in Kurzeme was interrupted due to severe storms, or a natural disaster. After the construction of the Kurzeme Ring, the possibility of emergency will be reduced substantially; moreover, the possibilities for operative emergency elimination or re-switching will be increased. After the implementation of the project, reliability of the electricity supply to consumers in Kurzeme will increase as the potential for connecting new electricity users will be increased as well.

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Technical background of the project

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Constructing the 330 kV power transmission network is necessary to provide for the existing demand for power under individual electricity system repair modes without limitations as well as to satisfy the demand for electricity capacity upon development of the national economy in the Kurzeme Region during the next decades, because the existing 110 kV power transmission network does not provide for sufficient reliability of supply of electricity to consumers in Kurzeme.

Currently, the electric load of Kurzeme Region during the winter maximum forms about 20% of the total electric load of Latvia, which is provided by the largest electricity consumers in Kurzeme: JSC Venta Amonjaks, JSC Ventspils nafta, JSC Brocēni, LLC Cemex, etc.; besides, it is not impossible that other consumers of large capacity will appear in future, such as JSC Liepājas Metalurgs renewing its operation. The project envisages strengthening the existing 330 kV power transmission networks from Riga to Brocēni, Liepāja and Lithuania as well, thus increasing both the reliability of supply of electricity to consumers in Kurzeme and opening much wider possibilities for the construction of new wind parks. Currently, reliability of supply of electricity in Kurzeme is low due to insufficient network transfer capacity and possible emergency disconnections. Capacity of the existing 110 kV network is insufficient, therefore it is not possible to issue technical regulations for the construction of new wind power plants in Kurzeme if a 330 kV ring is not constructed.

A 330 kV line Kurzeme Ring is an integral part of the Baltic countries' interconnections Estlink2 (interconnection between Estonia and Finland) and NordBalt (Lithuania - Sweden), which will provide for sufficiently strong and safe power transmission transit corridor from the North to the South and where the envisaged 330 kV network of the Kurzeme Ring will be able to transmit a substantial portion of transit electricity, thus facilitating the expansion of trade in electricity.

The western part of Latvia has the greatest wind potential in the country and the interest of investors to master this type of renewable energy source is evident. A large number of requests for technical regulations for the construction of wind power plants in Kurzeme, both onshore and in the sea, has been submitted to the Latvian transmission system operator. With the existing 110 kV transmission network, it is possible to connect a limited capacity of wind power plants on the Kurzeme seashore, but after the construction of the 330 kV power transmission line it will be possible to connect new high capacity wind parks to the power transmission network.

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Work progress plan

It is planned to complete the Kurzeme Ring project in 2019.

The first stage of the project, construction of the 330 kV cable between the substation Riga CHP-1 and the substation Imanta, was completed on 25 September 2013. This increased security and stability of the electricity supply in Riga City and Region as well as provided for a more stable connection of networks and generation in the central part of Latvia to the Kurzeme Ring. With the implementation of this stage and after completion of the construction of the Kurzeme Ring, the electric connection 'bottleneck' between the central and western regions of Latvia will be eliminated, which, in some cases, limits the electricity transit flows due to insufficient capacity.

The second stage of the Kurzeme Ring, construction of the 330 kV high voltage power transmission line Grobiņa–Ventspils, was started in 2010 and completed on 1 July 2014. The total costs of the second stage are EUR 63.8 million.

In turn, the third stage, which was started in December 2014, envisages completing construction of the Kurzeme Ring with the section Ventspils – Tume – Imanta. The total costs of the stage are estimated at EUR 127 million, 45% of which (EUR 55.089 million) is funding granted from  the funds of the Connecting Europe Facility.

The results of the EIA were approved and the status of a national object was granted to the 3rd stage of the Kurzeme Ring Ventspils – Tume – Imanta on 25 March 2015 by ordinance of the Cabinet of Ministers No. 140. A procurement procedure for power transmission line construction works was announced on 3 June 2015 and on 3 May 2016 the agreement was signed with the construction partnership LEC, RECK, Empower, while construction of the first object of stage 3 was started in summer 2017.

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Environmental Impact Assessment

1. Electricity transmission project “Kurzeme Ring” 1st stage Grobiņa – Ventspils – Dundaga

Report developed by:  „Firma L4” SIA, address: Jelgavas street 90, Riga, LV-1004, phone: +371 67500180, http://www.l4.lv/public/index_en.html

According to Law on environmental impact assessment and Environment State Bureau (ESB) statement about environmental impact assessment (EIA) report, issued on 16 of August 2010, the EIA final report “Environmental impact assessment for transmission network “Kurzeme Ring” 1st stage reconstruction” has been elaborated by "Firma L4". The positive ESB decision regarding EIA final report has been received on 17 of January 2011.

Kurzeme Ring 1st stage EIA final report, summary and ESB statement can be found here:

2. Electricity transmission project “Kurzeme Ring” 2nd stage Dundaga – Tume

Report developed by: „Estonian, Latvian & Lithuanian Environment” SIA, address: Skolas street 10-8, Riga, LV-1010, phone +371 67242411, www.environment.lv

According to Law on environmental impact assessment and Environment State Bureau (ESB) statement about EIA report, issued on 8 of August 2010, the EIA final report “Environmental impact assessment for transmission network “Kurzeme Ring” 2nd stage reconstruction” has been elaborated by “Estonian, Latvian & Lithuanian Environment” SIA. The positive ESB decision regarding EIA final report has been received on 16 of December 2011.

Kurzeme Ring 2nd stage EIA final report, summary and ESB statement can be found here:

3. Electricity transmission project “Kurzeme Ring” 3rd stage Tume – Rīga

Report developed by: „Estonian, Latvian & Lithuanian Environment” SIA, address: Skolas street 10-8, Riga, LV-1010, phone +371 67242411, www.environment.lv

According to Law on environmental impact assessment and Environment State Bureau (ESB) statement about EIA report, issued on 1 of March 2011, the EIA final report “Environmental impact assessment for transmission network “Kurzeme Ring” 3rd stage reconstruction” has been developed by „Estonian, Latvian & Lithuanian Environment” SIA. The positive ESB decision regarding EIA final report has been received on 1 of August 2013.

Kurzeme Ring 3rd stage EIA final report, summary and ESB statement can be found here:

Expert opinion on the possibility of transmission line implementation through Ķemeri-Jaunķemeri sulphides containing areas.

4. Non-technical summary of the Environmental Impact Assessment of electricity transmission project “Kurzeme Ring”

Summary 

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