Ignitis Gamyba plays a key role in ensuring reliable and effective strategic generation and significantly contributes to the Ignitis Group's strategy by developing the power generation capacity from renewable energy sources and implementing innovations. The updated company strategy foresees the implementation of 10 unique strategic solutions to achieve the strategy objectives by 2030.
After the major repair of 300 MW unit 8 of Elektrėnai complex is complete, its operational lifespan will be extended to 50,000 hours and an ability to generate electricity for 90 days without interruptions will be ensured. All major repair works should be completed in January–June 2023, thus, ensuring that the energy system of the Republic of Lithuania is adequately prepared for the synchronisation with the grid of Continental Europe and that unit 8 is available when electricity generation for an extended period is needed.
Unit 8 was launched in 1972 and, since the start of its operations until the end of 2020, it operated for over 162,000 hours, and its operational lifespan is coming to an end.
In order to maintain reliable local generation capabilities, Ignitis Gamyba is assessing possibilities to expand the capacity of the Kruonis Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Power Plant (PSHP) by constructing the fifth variable speed hydropower unit. Currently, four fixed speed hydropower units are installed in Kruonis PSHP but the initial PSHP's project provides the possibility to instal additional four units. Therefore, the current infrastructure of Kruonis PSHP is fully adapted to the new hydropower unit.
It is estimated that the fifth hydropower unit of Kruonis PSHP would be more efficient and flexible than the old ones. According to the current estimations, the hydropower unit would be able to operate at the capacity of 70–225 MW in pump mode and 45–225 MW in the generator mode. The unit’s cycle efficiency ratio would reach up to 80%, i.e. 6 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, capable of balancing the growing electricity generation from intermittent sources. A new, more flexible and efficient unit would enable the company to address power imbalances more flexibly in real-time.
The expansion of the Kruonis PSHP unit is being analyzed considering the following estimated future market trends:
Starting from 2013, the project was included in the list of Projects of Common Interest of the European Union (the EU), together with other energy infrastructure projects of regional importance thus obtaining possibilities to acquire the EU financial support from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Fund.
In order to accelerate the implementation of the project, the Company applied for CEF financing for several feasibility studies:
Project No. 4.7-0016-LT-S-M-17 – “Evaluation of technical condition of the infrastructure and penstock site for the Kruonis PSPP Expansion”.
Project No. 4.7-0005-LT-S-M-19 - "Evaluation of different technological solutions for the extension of Kruonis HPSPP and socioeconomic analysis".
About 75% of all the needed construction works have been completed when constructing 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 been completed, such as the feasibility study, environmental assessment, and technical specifications. The estimated duration of the project's implementation would be four to five years.
In 2019, the European Commission approved a partial funding for studies of the pile field and infrastructure (Project No. 4.7-0016-LT-S-M-17). The study is aimed at assessing whether the current state of the pile field on which the new penstock is to be constructed meets all technical requirements. This study is a step further in order to fully prepare for the possible implementation of the extension project of the power plant. The research was completed in 3rd Quarter 2019. More information regarding the results of the study can be accessed here (in Lithuanian only).
In 2019, the European Commission approved the partial funding for the implementation of the technological feasibility study and the socioeconomic analysis of the fifth unit of Kruonis PSHP (Project No. 4.7-0005-LT-S-M-19). It aims to determine the best technological solution to be installed in Kruonis power plant as well as to determine the socioeconomic value generated by such installation. Such feasibility study has been completed in April 2020. More information regarding the results of the study can be accessed here (in Lithuanian only).
In the National Energy Independence Strategy approved by the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania on 21 June 2018, the development of Kruonis PSHP was included in the list of tasks of major importance in the electricity sector.
The project is implemented by: AB Ignitis Gamyba
Project sponsor: UAB Ignitis Group
Funding sources: loans from commercial banks, EU Structural Funds, export credit agencies, AB Ignitis Gamyba own funds, release of green bonds
Technical Indicators: additional up to 225 MW in the existing 900 MW power plant, expanding its capacity to 1125 MW
Technology: flexible variable speed hydropower unit
Capacity in the pump mode: 70–225 MW
Capacity in the generator mode: 45–225 MW
Cycle efficiency ratio: up to 80 percent
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Kruonis Industrial Park project has been under development since 2010. The industrial park is based in the territory of Kruonis PSHP, which is owned by Ignitis Gamyba. The aim of the project is to attract foreign investors developing large regional data centres and providing high-tech services.
The territory of Kruonis PSHP is ideal for data centre operations due to its existing infrastructure: high reliability systems of communication, power supply and logistics as well as the nearby Kaunas Lagoon whose water can be used for the cooling processes of the data centres. The park is in a free economic zone (FEZ) and offers tax benefits. Moreover, geographically convenient location allows to reach the largest Lithuanian cities and airports in less than an hour.
The 20 October 2010 Decree No. 1495 of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania recognised this project as a project of national economic importance, and the 21 December 2011 Decree No. 1515 assigned a part of the Kruonis PSHP territory to the Kaunas FEZ.
Since Kruonis PSHP is an object of strategic importance, it follows high security standards – this is also relevant for data centre developers. In Kruonis industrial park, the electricity price is up to 40% lower if compared to the rest of Lithuania, moreover, it is possible to connect to high-voltage networks in line with the highest requirements for the security of electricity supply.
In order to increase the attractiveness of the territory for potential investors, in 2013–2014 the necessary engineering infrastructure was developed, including logistics, communications, water supply, and sewerage systems.
In order to reduce the administrative burden for setting-up business, in 2016 the procedures for changing the detailed site plan of the territory and assessing the environmental impact of the economic activities were initiated. In 2017, positive conclusions were received and a detailed site plan prepared, determining the building height limits, build-up intensity and other requirements in line with the needs of data centres.
In 2018, Ignitis Gamyba together with Kaunas University of Technology launched a pilot floating solar power plant project in Kruonis PSHP. Aimed at scientific research and developing innovations, the project will be the first of its kind in the region, further increasing the attractiveness of the Kruonis Industrial Park for potential investors.
Successful implementation of the Kruonis PSHP industrial park project would:
In 2013–2014, the project for the installation of the engineering infrastructure in the territory of Kruonis PSHP was implemented using the EU structural funds for the period of 2007–2013, under the Invest LT instrument of Priority 2 of the Action Programme for Economic Growth ‘Increasing Business Productivity and Improving Business Environment’, VP2-2.4-ŪM-01-V.
In total, more than EUR 2 million have been invested in the territory of Kruonis Industrial Park in the period of 2011-2018. Most of these investments were funded by the EU.
After the major repair of the unit is complete, a reliable electricity generation and provision of system services will be ensured.
The objective of the company is to complete major repairs of all 4 units of Kruonis PSHP by 2025, i.e., before the synchronisation with the grid of Continental Europe, which will allow to extend their service life by 15 years.
The major repair of unit II was completed in 2018.
The major repair of the unit will be performed in two stages. In the first stage, the parts necessary will be procured, and in the second stage, which should start in the autumn of 2022, repair works will be performed, which should be completed by the end of 2022. After the repairs are complete, the unit’s service life will be extended as well as the efficiency of the unit will improve, it will operate cheaper, reducing cost.
The repair cost reaches almost EUR 3.5 million.
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