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Strategic Investments in Power Grid to Bring Decades of Benefits

Strategic Investments in Power Grid to Bring Decades of Benefits

Lithuanian electricity transmission system operator Litgrid has published a 10-year plan for the development of the country’s high-voltage power transmission grid. The main strategic priority for the next decade remains the integration of Lithuania’s electricity system with that of Western Europe. The plan for 2014-2023 takes into account electricity demand trends in Lithuania, projections for power generation in the country and its neighbours, European Union targets for increasing energy efficiency, scenarios for the development of the electricity market and the efficient use of renewable resources.
“Together with scientists from Kaunas University of Technology, we analyzed several different scenarios for the development of wind power in Lithuania through 2030 and drew up a map of wind power plant connections to the grid over the next 15 years. The current transmission grid can accommodate enough wind power plants to ensure that by 2030 renewable sources provide for 24-35 percent of the nation’s power needs. However, the main challenge for integrating wind power into the transmission grid is a shortage of reserves,” says Daivis Virbickas, Litgrid’s CEO and Chairman of the Board.
Judging by the number of permits that have been issued for developing wind farms and current legislation, by 2020 Lithuania will have 500 MW of installed wind power capacity. A decision to increase wind power generation would also require investing in new power plants to provide sufficient reserves for balancing the wind power. Significant development of the transmission grid is also needed for the connection of offshore wind farms.
Besides completing work on the strategic LitPol Link and NordBalt power interconnections, which are due to begin operating at the end of 2015, investments in the maintenance and reconstruction of existing grid facilities are also planned.
While the country’s high-voltage electricity transmission grid is well-developed, specific sections require investments to ensure the grid's reliability or integrate wind power into the system.  The planned construction of power substations in central and eastern Lithuania shows the increasing potential of small and medium-sized businesses to contribute to the country’s economic growth and create new jobs. It is essential when drafting plans for the grid’s development to consider fully the economic outlook and be prepared for both pessimistic and highly optimistic scenarios.
“The cost of the planned investments in strategic energy infrastructure amounts to less than 0.03 litas per kilowatt-hour, while the benefits these investments bring will reduce the biggest part of the electricity price and create incomparably better conditions for increasing the competitiveness of the country’s industry and business for decades to come,” Virbickas says.
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