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Kaunas Algirdas Brazauskas' Hydroelectric Power Plant (the KHPP)

Brief overview

Managed by Ignitis Gamyba, Kaunas Algirdas Brazauskas Hydroelectric Power Plant (KHPP) is the largest renewable sources power plant in Lithuania. Annual production currently meets 4% of total energy consumed in Lithuania (approximately 25% of total energy generated from renewable sources). Despite the small capacity, KHPP ensures the stability of Lithuanian energy system.

The reconstruction works were completed at the plant in 2010, which resulted in significant increase in reliability and efficiency while expenses for technical maintenance have been reduced and work safety of maintenance personnel has been ensured according to the EU directives. In the case of a total system blackout, the modern equipment was installed during reconstruction, which ensures successful start of hydro units and restoration of energy systems. KHPP is one of two plants in Lithuanian energy system that can be started automatically in case of a total system blackout.

The reconstruction works were completed at the plant in 2010, which resulted in significant increase in reliability and efficiency while expenses for technical maintenance have been reduced and work safety of maintenance personnel has been ensured according to the EU directives. In the case of a total system blackout, the modern equipment was installed during reconstruction, which ensures successful start of hydro units and restoration of energy systems. KHPP is one of two plants in Lithuanian energy system that can be started automatically in case of a total system blackout.

  • KHPP capacity – 100.8 MW, 4 units of 25.2 MW.
  • The largest unit – 24.6 m, length of pressure front – approximately 1.5 km; an average perennial discharge – 259 m³/s, water permeability under normal conditions – 3,030 m³/s.
  • Generators are powered by four reactive turbines with adjustable blades. One turbine allows 158 m3/s flow of water (at maximum operational capacity), the total volume of turbines – 632 m³/s flow of water.

KHPP generated 0,23 TWh electricity in 2020.

KHPP history

The issue of using hydro resources of Nemunas river became important after World War II. Before the construction work began in 1948–1951, Nemunas’ hydro resources were inspected and a scheme for their use was 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 reinforced concrete were produced. The most important part of the construction appeared to be the main pool. It had to be dug nearly 20 meters deep in order to reach the loam that was as hard as a rock and then lay down a concrete foundation for the plant on top of it.

As the old riverbed of Nemunas was dammed in 1959, the Kaunas Lagoon overflowed. An open distribution station of 110 kV was built on the right side of Nemunas, near the power plant, and the instrument premises were equipped with instruments. The first hydro unit was started in the same year and supplied electricity to Kaunas, Vilnius, and Šiauliai. The hydroelectric plant reached its intended project capacity of 90 MW in 1960 and almost all electricity supply lines of 110 kV were switched on. KHPP produced about 30% of the total electricity demand in Lithuania at the 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 increased from 5 to 20 years. The reconstruction of the KHPP has reduced the environmental risk significantly – the oil was replaced by an ecological and environmentally friendly alternative. The modern design of hydro-turbines ensures their safe operation (no oil enters the waters of Nemunas). Waste intercepting equipment allows the collection and safe disposal of waste from the waters of Nemunas. Currently, KHPP meets all the relevant environmental requirements.