Pumped-storage hydroelectricity Plant Kruonis (5th block)

Kruonis Pumped Storage Power Plant Expansion (5th unit)

Kruonis Pumped Storage Power Plant (Kruonis PSPP) expansion is planned by commissioning construction of the fifth 225 MW hydro unit. Kruonis PSPP is currently equipped with four hydro units but the initial design of power plant provides an opportunity to build another four units. Therefore current infrastructure of Kruonis PSPP is completely suitable for the installation of the new hydro unit.

The fifth hydro unit will be much more efficient and flexible compared with the four old units. According to its technical specification, the hydro unit will operate at 110-225 MW range in pump mode and at 55-225 MW range in generation mode. Target overall efficiency factor of the new unit cycle is 78%, which is as much as 4 percentage points higher than that of the current units.

Benefits

When choosing technology for Kruonis PSPP’s new hydro unit, the following market tendencies were taken into consideration:

  • Expansion of renewable energy sources in the region. The new hydro unit of Kruonis PSPP will provide more flexibility in balancing power fluctuations from wind farms in real time, because power fluctuations will become more common as the countries of the region intend to increase the proportion of electricity generated from renewable sources.
  • Launching NordBalt and Litpol Link interconnections. A difference in prices in the neighbouring countries will allow Kruonis PSPP to economically use its capacities in electricity trading, i.e. by converting electricity generated at night into peak load electricity.
  • Expansion of new production capacities in the region. With the emerging of new production capacities, e.g., Visaginas Nuclear Power Plant, the generation of base load electricity will increase and demand for electricity reserves will grow. So, the flexible units of Kruonis PSPP will ensure the largest share of the secondary active power reserve.

Investments

It is estimated that the construction of the new hydro unit of Kruonis PSPP may cost nearly EUR 100-110 million, or EUR 0,5 million per installed megawatt. Meanwhile, the experience of foreign countries shows that investment in new pumped storage power plants is more than twice as much, EUR 1.1 million per installed megawatt.

The Kruonis PSPP expansion project will be funded from loans provided by commercial banks. Ways are sought to get support from EU structural funds and export credit agencies. Kruonis PSPP intends to allocate financing for the project as well.

Works

Supposedly, as much as 75% of all construction works were performed when developing the current infrastructure of Kruonis PSPP and building the first four hydro units.

Feasibility and environmental assessment studies were conducted as part of the Kruonis PSPP expansion project and technical specifications were prepared. Other preparatory works are being carried out at the moment.

Progress

  • The special plan is being finalized;
  • EIA is completed in 2013 III Q.

Next steps

  • To adopt the special plan (2014 II Q);
  • To start line construction works in 2015.

Technical characteristics of Kruonis PSHP:

  • Capacity – 900 MW, 4 units of 225 MW. 
  • Cycle efficient use rate: 0.74. 
  • Unit‘s operational range in generator mode: 0 – 225 MW. 
  • Fixed capacity in pump mode: 220 MW. 

The Kruonis PSHP generated 0,534 TWh of electricity in 2011. 

History 

The decision to build a powerful thermal power plant was made on 18 April 1960. When planning the construction of a nuclear power energy plant for the future, it became obvious, that a pumped storage plant, regulating the operation of the energy system and leveling load balance (i.e. improving the quality of electric energy supply, and compensating energy deficiency in case of an accident) was essential. After considering 6 sites for construction of the mentioned plant, Kruonis appeared to be the most suitable location for the prospective power plant with a potential for generating 1600 MW of energy. The main advantage of Kruonis PSHP was the opportunity to use the 63.5-km² Kaunas Reservoir for the lower pool.

Four years were spent on detailed designing. The technical project was accepted in 1978, and the cornerstone of the Kruonis PSHP premises was completed in 1984. Eight units of 200 MW were planned for the initially designed electrical capacity of 1600 MW, but later this amount was reduced to four units, but with increased capacity of 225 MW. The first unit began operating in 1992 while the fourth one - in 1998.

This year in order to promote production of energy from renewable resources, the Kruonis PSHP began using the largest (in terms of Lithuania) system for solar energy extraction. This system of using alternative energy resources is not only environmentally friendly, but also saves money. Starting in June, a battery of solar collectors began operating, and it is predicted that water heated in this way will be sufficient to cover the hot water demand for the plant‘s internal consumption.

Last updated: 13-08-2015