An international energy company Ignitis Group will aim to implement the Kruonis Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Powerplant (PSHP) expansion project before the synchronisation of the Lithuania’s energy system with continental European network. It became clear after the Supervisory Board of Ignitis Gamyba approved the decision of the Management Board to approve the expansion plan of the Kruonis PSHP expansion plan and begin the necessary procurement procedures for the installation of the 5th hydropower unit. The first stage is to select the contractor which will help the company to prepare the technical requirements for the new unit.
“It is one of the core projects that will cement the path towards the development of renewable energy”, said Dainius Kreivys, the Minister of Energy of the Republic of Lithuania.
“The approved expansion plan of Kruonis PSHP is a responsible decision made after diligent calculations. Installation of the 5th unit is important to ensure the security of the energy system in the region. It is also key for integrating larger local green energy generation capacities into our energy system”, stated CEO of Ignitis Group Darius Maikštėnas.
After assessing the needs of the energy distribution system operator and according to the recommendations of the socioeconomic analysis completed in 2020, it was decided that the most reasonable solution is to install 110 MW capacity hydropower synchronous unit. The conclusion of the socioeconomic analysis state that, should such hydropower unit is built, the public would benefit by more than EUR 150m in the long-term.
The current total capacity of Kruonis PSHP amounts to 900 MW. The powerplant has four fixed-speed synchronous 225 MW hydropower units installed. The 5the unit of Kruonis PSHP could compensate electricity shortage much more flexibly and in real-time or absorb excess electricity in the market as well as provide other quality ancillary services.
“It is important that the new hydropower unit, unlike the old one’s, is able to provide ancillary services flexibly not only when generating electricity, but also when consuming it. The need for additional flexibility in the hydroelectric powerplants is constantly growing while the electricity generation fluctuations increase constantly due to electricity generation from renewable sources”, stated CEO of Ignitis Gamyba Rimgaudas Kalvaitis.
Expansion of Kruonis PSHP is also set out in the measure plan approved by the Government for preparing for synchronisation with the networks of Continental Europe in 2025, therefore, efforts are made to align the schedule for expansion of Kruonis PSHP with the synchronisation project.
Ignitis Gamyba notes that the approval of the business plan is not tantamount to the investment decision. Ignitis Gamyba will decide on the investment into Kruonis PSHP expansion only after the results of the contractor procurement are received and after the assessment of the construction costs.
Preliminary estimate in the conclusion the socioeconomic analysis states that investments into the new unit could reach about EUR 80m. A more accurate construction cost of the 5th unit of Kruonis PSHP will be clear during the project and then it will be decided whether to implement it and what sources of funding will be used.
It must also be noted that the operation of the planned 5th unit will not have any negative impact on the Kaunas Lagoon, which have set regulations of use in the Rules for Kaunas Hydroelectric Powerplant Reservoir Use and Maintenance approved by the order of the Environmental Protection Agency.