E.ON clashes with Swedish network operator

Dispute over grid connection for Södra Midsjöbanken

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Sweden’s transmission system operator (TSO) has refused a request from E.ON to allow a planned 700MW wind farm to feed electricity into a subsea interconnector due to built between Sweden and Lithuania, Windpower Offshore has learned.

TSO Svenska Kraftnät is insisting that E.ON shoulder the cost of building an export cable to the onshore network. This is despite proximity of the Södra Midsjöbanken wind farm site to the route of the planned 700MW NordBalt interconnector.

NordBalt is being developed jointly by Svenska Kraftnät and Lithuanian TSO Litgrid. ABB is already working on manufacture of the high voltage cable.

Developers building offshore wind farms in Swedish waters are required to bear all grid connections. E.ON argues that the NordBalt interconnector represents part of the network operated by Svenska Kraftnät. If so, then it could connect to the interconnector, rather than to shore, cutting E.ON’s development costs.

Svenska Kraftnät and Litgrid have rejected E.ON Vind’s request to connect to NordBalt. Speaking with Windpower Offshore, a Svenska Kraftnät spokesperson said that peak generation from Södra Midsjöbanken could take up 100% of NordBalt’s capacity. This would interfere with cross-border trading on windy days, defeating the purpose of the interconnector, added the spokesperson. "The interconnector should give actors on the Baltic market the opportunity to trade with the Nordics and vice versa."

E.ON hopes Sweden’s Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications will overrule the TSO. The ministry is responsible for permitting NordBalt.

Meanwhile, the regulator that oversees trading within Sweden’s energy market, Energimarknadsinspektionen, appears to disagree with SVK’s position. Marine interconnectors are part of the TSO’s grid and governing legislation makes no distinction between connection to the grid on land or at sea, according to Roger Husblad, the inspectorate’s head for authorisations and approval.

It is not yet possible for E.ON to appeal formally against Svenska Kraftnät’s refusal to connect Södra Midsjöbanken to NordBalt. This is because neither the interconnector nor the offshore wind farm has been fully permitted.

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