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Litgrid’s Warning in the Ten-Year Plan: Electricity Generation Is Moving Away from Lithuania

Litgrid’s Warning in the Ten-Year Plan: Electricity Generation Is Moving Away from Lithuania

Litgrid, the electricity transmission system operator, has prepared and submitted to the National Commission on Prices and Energy Control a ten-year grid development plan for 2016-2025. According to the plan, Lithuania will continue to be one of the few European countries where electricity consumption will grow from year to year. It is estimated that the electricity consumption in the country will vary between 11.89 and 13.05 terawatt hours in 2025.  
The structure of local electricity generation will undergo changes: compared to the present situation, the number of thermal power plants will be halved, whereas the installed capacity of power plants using renewable sources of energy will be doubled. According to projections, the most significant growth in installed capacity might be observed in wind power plants, reaching 700 MW in 2025. 
‘Over the next decade, securing the reliability of operation of the power system and sufficient emergency reserves will be the key challenge. All the scenarios analysed show that, with all the existing power links but without the development of local generation, after 2020 the power system may become inadequate. One may judge by production plans of neighbouring states that Estonia is following the example of Lithuania as it is closing its shale-fuelled power plants. This means that in few years the Baltic countries’ power systems may be experiencing a generation deficit. It should be stressed that import of electricity has been chosen not just by Lithuania, Latvia or Estonia but also by twenty other European countries‘, Litgrid Chairman of the Board and CEO Daivis Virbickas says. 
According to Mr Virbickas, another important challenge is related to increasing grid load in the largest regions of Lithuania that are also strongest from the economic point of view. It is projected that, over the next decade, the demand for capacity will increase 28% in Vilnius region and over 40% in Kaunas region, along with a decrease in the electricity generation volumes. ‘Electricity will be transmitted to the largest cities from power plants located in other regions or countries. In order to ensure an effective management of large electricity flows remotely, we will have to reinforce our grid equipment accordingly’, Litgrid CEO says.
Investments totalling EUR 671 million will have to be made in the transmission grid over the coming decade. 
‘Half of the investments will be earmarked for the main strategic objective of Lithuania and the company: reorientation of the national power system for synchronous operation with the grid of Continental Europe. In addition, maintaining of high grid reliability indicators is of critical importance, therefore, one third of this amount will be invested in the construction of new and reconstruction of existing high-voltage electricity transmission lines‘, says Daivis Virbickas.
It is estimated that six 330 kV electricity transmission lines, a switchyard and a transformer substation and power plant control and monitoring systems will have to be constructed or reconstructed, and a number of back-to-back converters will have to be installed for the purposes of synchronous operation with the grid of Continental Europe. Construction of one of the lines, extending from the Kruonis hydro pumped storage plant to Alytus, will be launched at the end of this year. 
The ten-year Lithuanian grid development plan, drawn up and updated on an annual basis, reflects all the significant changes related to the equipment of the electricity generation and transmission infrastructure. A comprehensive presentation of the ten-year plan is scheduled for this autumn.
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