In order to maintain reliable local generation capabilities, Lietuvos Energijos Gamyba has assessed possibilities to expand the capacity of the Kruonis pumped storage hydroelectric power plant (PSHP) by constructing the fifth 225 MW asynchronous hydropower unit. Currently, four hydropower units are installed in Kruonis PSHP but the initial PSHP's project provides for the possibility to build additional four units. Therefore, the current infrastructure of Kruonis PSHP is fully adapted to the new hydropower unit.
The fifth hydropower unit of Kruonis PSHP would be more efficient and flexible than the old ones. According to the technical characteristics, the hydropower unit would be able to operate at the capacity of 110–225 MW in the pump mode and 55–225 MW in the generator mode. The unit’s cycle efficiency ratio would reach 78%, i.e. 4 percentage points more than that of the existing units.
Under the current market conditions, the existing 900 MW capacity of the Kruonis PSHP is fully sufficient, however, its further development is needed to ensure Lithuania's energy independence and competitiveness by maintaining sufficient and reliable local power generation capacities. A new, more efficient unit would allow the company to address power imbalances in a more flexible way and in real time.
The technology of the new Kruonis PSHP unit has been selected taking into account the following market trends:
The planned investments into the construction of a new hydropower unit in Kruonis PSHP amounts to EUR 100–115 million or EUR 0.52 million per installed megawatt. Compared to the foreign practice, planned investments in new hydroelectric power plants amount to EUR 1.1 million per megawatt, i.e. more than twice as high.
The Kruonis PSHP development project would be financed by commercial banks' loans. The possibility to receive financial support from the European Union Structural Funds and export credit agencies is also being assessed. The development of the project will be partly funded by Lietuvos Energijos Gamyba, AB.
In 2013, the project was included in the list of Projects of Common Interest of the European Union (EU), together with other energy infrastructure projects of regional importance.
About 75% all the needed construction work has been carried out when upgrading the existing infrastructure of Kruonis PSHP and building the first four hydropower units.
A large part of the preparatory works for the Kruonis PSHP development project has also been completed, such as the feasibility study, environmental assessment and technical specifications. The estimated duration of the project's implementation would be at least four years.
In January 2018, the European Commission approved a partial funding for studies of the pile field and infrastructure. These studies are aimed at assessing whether the current state of the pile field on which the new pipeline is to be constructed meets all requirements. The research should be completed in autumn 2019.
In October 2018, the European Commission also approved the partial funding for a feasibility study of the fifth unit of Kruonis PSHP. It aims to assess what type of unit – synchronous or asynchronous – suits the needs of the existing infrastructure of Kruonis PSHP and the energy system in a most effective way. The public procurement procedures for the study has already been announced. In addition, a socio-economic analysis will be carried out to assess the long-term impact and benefits of the Kruonis PSHP development to the electricity system, its stability, security and regional market.
In the National Energy Independence Strategy approved by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania on 21 June 2018, the development of Kruonis PSHP was included in the list of the major tasks of the electricity sector. The project will be continued as soon as the demand for the power reserve as well as the technical requirements for the facility providing such reserve when operating in an isolated network in sync with the continental European grid will be clearly determined.
European commission has agreed to co-fund Kruonis PSPP penstock and infrastructure study. This study is a step further in order to fully prepare to implement an additional 5th unit. This study shall allow to evaluate current condition of poles and penstock.
Co-financed by the Connecting Europe Facility of the European Union
The project is implemented by: Lietuvos Energijos Gamyba, AB
Project sponsor: Lietuvos Energija, UAB
Funding sources: loans from commercial banks, EU Structural Funds, export credit agencies, Lietuvos Energijos Gamyba, AB own funds
Technical Indicators: additional 225 MW in the existing 900 MW power plant, expanding its capacity to 1125 MW.
Technology: flexible variable speed (asynchronous) hydropower unit
Capacity in the pump mode: 110–225 MW
Capacity in the generator mode: 55–225 MW
Cycle efficiency ratio: 78 percent
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