Development of the Kruonis Pumped Storage Plant – among the most important projects in the energy sector



The national electricity producer Lietuvos Energijos Gamyba has assessed the possibilities for the developments of the Kruonis Pumped Storage Plant (Kruonis PSP), when installing the fifth hydro unit. The results of the analysis show that in today's market's conditions the existing 900 MW power is sufficient for the operation of the power plant, but its development is important for the assurance of future sufficient electricity capacity and competitive power engineering in Lithuania. The National Energy Independence Strategy project, which was presented yesterday, included the development of Kruonis PSP in the list of the main energy sector’s works.

Expansion of Kruonis PSP production capacity is planned after the construction of the fifth asynchronous hydro unit of 225 MW power. Lietuvos Energijos Gamyba, evaluating the need of the fifth Kruonis PSP unit, analysed the assumptions and prospects of the electricity trading, reserve, regulation and balancing services. After the merger with Sweden and Poland, the electricity prices go down on the stock market, and the difference between peak and night prices decreases (in 2015, the average electricity price was 41.9 EUR/MWh, in 2016, 36.5 EUR/MWh (-13%), in 2015, peak and night prices differed by 1.9 time, and in 2016, by 1.6 time).

"Most of the forecasted changes in the commercial market do not provide significant additional opportunities for commercial trading of the electricity produced in Kruonis. At the same time, we clearly see that the construction of the fifth unit would be the optimal solution to solve the reliability and security of the Baltic electricity system in the shortest possible time. Such a universal unit would allow for a much more flexible real-time compensation of electricity shortages or surpluses on the market, which will be especially relevant when the Lithuanian electricity network will be synchronized with the continental Europe network," - said Eglė Čiužaitė, Chairwoman and Director General of the Lietuvos Energijos Gamyba.

Recently announced joint analysis of the long-term adequacy of the Baltic electricity system, prepared by Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian electricity transmission system operators, has shown that in the Baltic region, new reliable and flexible capacities must be created within a short time, in order to ensure the smooth functioning of electricity systems and reliable electricity supply. Otherwise, the system will lack the 200 MW reserve.

The largest potential for the development of the Kruonis PSP consists namely of the possibility of the provision of the reserve and additional need for flexible production capacities in the Baltic region that can provide balancing services. This will be particularly relevant in the Baltic region, when expanding the capacity of renewable energy production, which is also among the key goals of the renewed power engineering strategy.

“Lietuvos Energijos Gamyba is fully prepared to initiate and, prior to synchronization with the continental European electricity system, to implement the project of the Kruonis PSP additional unit, in order to ensure the provision of reservation and balancing services. We will do this, when the transmission system operator and other concerned parties will answer the relevant questions about how much power reserve need to be provided, when working on an isolated network, when preparing for the synchronization and after it, as well as what technical requirements will be imposed on the device ensuring such power reserve," - says the manager of the Kruonis PSP managing company.

At present, a considerable part of the preparatory work of the Kruonis PSP development project has already been carried out, and the estimated duration of its implementation is around four years. According to publicly available data, the fifth Kruonis PSP hydro unit would be constructed twice as fast and would cost twice less than abroad, for example, in Estonia, the investments in new hydro pump plants are planned. Such an advantage is provided by preparatory works and the available basic infrastructure.

We would like to remind that at present four hydro units are installed at Kruonis PSP, and the existing infrastructure of Kruonis PSP is fully adapted to the new hydro unit. In evaluating of the latest technological possibilities, the fifth Kruonis PSP hydro unit could be much more efficient and flexible than the four old ones, both in the functioning in the pump mode and in the production of electricity.