The “Pechenga energy brigde” will connect the power systems of Russia and Norway and includes construction of a new 132 kV double circuit transmission between the Russian town Nikel and Skogfoss on the Norwegian side of the border. In addition, several lines and substations on the Russian side will be upgraded and modernized, Alexey Molsky of the Federal Grid Company said last week at an international conference on development of the electricity market and strengthening of electricity grid in the High North.
The project has a 9 billion rubles (€182 million) price tag, the company says in a press release.
The Norwegian grid operator Statnett is nearly finished building a 132 kV line between Skogfoss and Varangerbotn. “The new line will give better capacity and security of supply and make more energy exchange with Russia possible”, the company’s web site reads.
In 2011 Statnett wanted to cooperate with Russia on building an electricity line from the Kola Peninsula to Norway through Skogfoss, but was stopped by the Norwegian Ministry of Oil and Energy, who argued that import of electricity from Russia’s north would prolong the life time of the oldest reactors at Kola Nuclear Power Plant, BarentsObserver reported.
Russia and Norway are members of BASREC – the Baltic Sea Region Energy Cooperation. The organization was founded in 1998 by the ministers for energy of the region and the European Commission. The other members are Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and the European Commission.
Russia is prepared to protect its interests in the Arctic with military means if necessary, says Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu, pointing to the increasing interest in the region’s resources by countries with no direct access to the Arctic.
This February the hotels of Rovaniemi, Lapland have been full to the brim with customers. Usually this many people stay in hotels in the northern city only during the Christmas season, but this year the tourist boom will continue into March at least.
Development of tourism is one of Russia’s prioritized areas to secure its presence on the archipelago of Svalbard. The state company Trust Arktikugol is now registered as a tour operator and could welcome its first guests to the Arctic wilderness.
The UK needs to up its game in the Arctic or risk being «outmaneuvered” by other states, and should start by appointing an ambassador to the region, according to a report by the House of Lords Arctic Committee.