Managed by Ignitis Gamyba Kaunas Algirdas Brazauskas' Hydroelectric Power Plant (the KHPP) is the largest power plant in Lithuania using renewable resources. Annual production currently meets 4% of total energy consumed in Lithuania (over 40% of total energy generated from renewable resources). Despite the small capacity, the KHPP ensures the stability of the Lithuanian energy system.
In addition, with the completion of reconstruction work at the plant in 2010 reliability and efficiency have increased significantly, while expenses for technical maintenance have been reduced. Moreover, work safety of maintenance personnel has been ensured, as laid down in the EU directives. In the case of a total system blackout, the modern equipment, installed during reconstruction, ensures the successful start of hydro units and restoration of energy systems. The KHPP is one of two plants in the Lithuanian energy system that can be started automatically in case of a total system blackout.
The hydroelectric plant generated 0,317 TWh of electricity in 2014.
The problem of using hydro resources of the Nemunas River became obvious after World War II. Before the construction work began in 1948–1951, the Nemunas hydro resources had been inspected, and a scheme for its use had been introduced. The first stage of construction began in 1955. The construction of the hydroelectric plant demanded digging over 5 million m3 of soil, and banking about 3.5 million m3 of earth. A concrete production plant was built, and about 252,000 m3 of concrete and ferroconcrete were produced. The most important part of the construction appeared to be the main pool: to dig one of appropriate depth, to reach loam that was as hard as a rock, in order to lay down a concrete foundation for the plant.
As the old bed of the Nemunas was dammed in 1959, the Kaunas Reservoir overflowed. An opened distribution station of 110 kV was built, the premises were equipped, and the first hydro unit was started in the same year. Kaunas, Vilnius, and Siauliai were supplied with electric energy. The hydroelectric plant obtained its intended project capacity of 90 MW in 1960 when all electric supply lines of 110 kV were switched on. Kaunas Hydroelectric Power Plant generated about 30% of the total electricity in Lithuania at that time.
The KHPP was modernized in 2010: reliability, safety, and efficiency of its energy supply were increased. Operational efficiency was increased by 4%, while reliability was enhanced 3-fold. The life of the plant has been extended by 25 years, and the periodic complete overhaul for all equipment – from 5 to 20 years. The reconstruction of the KHPP has reduced the environmental risk significantly; ecological and environmentally friendly oil has replaced the one previously used. The modern design of hydro-turbines ensures their safe exploitation (no oil enters the waters of the Nemunas). Sweeping containers allow the collection and safe disposal of rubbish from the waters of the Nemunas. Currently, the KHPP meets all the appropriate requirements for environmental protection.