There is no indication that the damage that caused the disconnection of the underwater cable connecting Estonia and Finland last week “EstLink 2” was caused by a deliberate external influence, the operator of the Estonian electricity transmission networks “Elering” announced on Friday.
The search for the exact location of the EstLink 2 fault, which continued throughout this week, confirmed that the fault was located on the Estonian side near the junction of land and sea cables. The exact location has not yet been determined.
“We continue to determine the exact location of the damage. However, the surveys carried out so far do not indicate any intentional external damage to the cable,” said Reigo Haug, Head of EstLink at Elering.
“Given that EstLink 2 is a complex and unique cable and that it is a specific fault, troubleshooting is time-consuming and requires the use of different methods,” explained Haug. “Specialists searched for the fault all week until late at night. Every day we are getting closer to the location of the fault,” he added.
Elering has engaged a cable manufacturer to identify the location of the fault and extensive work will continue over the weekend and into next week.
Damage to the “EstLink 2” underwater cable between Estonia and Finland was detected on the night of January 26. “Elering” and the Finnish system operator “Fingrid” started work to determine the location of the fault, and on January 28, the possible location of the fault was found on the Estonian side.
The operator companies of both countries have confirmed that the cable will not work due to the damage until at least the end of February.
The outage of “EstLink 2” has reduced the electricity transmission capacity between Finland and Estonia by 650 megawatts (MW).
The second electric cable connecting Estonia and Finland “EstLink 1” works in the usual mode.
The total length of “EstLink 2”, discovered ten years ago, is 170 km, of which 145 km are underwater cables. “EstLink 1” started operating in 2006, but in 2035, Estonia and Finland plan to complete the “EstLink 3” cable.
Another electric cable between Estonia and Finland was damaged in the Baltic Sea in October at the same time as the “Balticconnector” gas pipeline. It is believed that the damage at the bottom of the Baltic Sea was caused by the anchor of a Chinese ship, but the investigation is still ongoing.