Denmark gets all clear to resume Baltic Pipe work
Danish gas and power grid operator Energinet said March 1 it had received a new environmental permit to complete Denmark's share of the Baltic Pipe project, which would link Norwegian gas fields to customers mostly in Poland.
Building work will resume on the last sections of the pipeline that had been suspended in May 2021, working across areas to the east of the Jutland peninsula, as well as on the island of Funen.
Energinet has staggered Baltic Pipe's launch schedule to address the delay commissioning the two components. From October this year, the original start date, the pipeline will use existing Danish gas transmission links to bypass Funen and Jutland, later reaching its full 10bn m³ capacity once those two sections are activated in January 2023.
The grid operator is working alongside its Polish counterpart, Gaz-System, to deliver the Baltic Pipe project, which would terminate in Poland.
The news comes as European countries seek alternatives to Russian gas, which covered roughly one third of EU and UK demand in 2021, according to the International Energy Agency. There are fears Moscow could retaliate to criticism over its actions in Ukraine by shutting off gas deliveries to key European markets.
Poland's long-term contract with Gazprom for 20bn m³ of gas will lapse on December 31, and Warsaw hopes the Baltic Pipe will help replace these quantities. Another natural gas pipeline serving Poland, the Gas Interconnector Poland Lithuania route, will deliver up to 1.9 m3/yr from May 1, launching earlier than originally scheduled.
Denmark's environment and food appeals board (EPA) had revoked Baltic Pipe's environmental permit in May last year, citing risks to species like bats and dormice covered by the European habitats directive.
EPA had argued in the appeal that despite Energinet implementing remedial measures for the species' living conditions, these failed to maintain breeding and foraging conditions for protected creatures.
The decision halted construction of the Danish pipeline sections that had commenced last spring, leaving a gap stretching 40 km in Jutland, from the Egtved compressor station to the Little Belt strait, and 38 km of the duct to be situated in the western Funen island.
Energinet will also commence development of two 50-kV power cables to supply a compressor station in Denmark's southern Zealand region.