Start of operation
Iberdrola Ingeniería officially opened a combined cycle type power plant, for government-owned Lietuvos Elektrine in Lithuania, in October 2012. The plant is situated in Elektranai, 40km away from Vilnius.
The state-of-the-art facility was developed to guarantee uninterrupted power supply to Lithuania after the closure of Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant in 2010.
The contract for the 455MW power plant was awarded to Iberdrola in 2009. The plant was built on a turnkey basis for Lietuvos Elektrine, which is into generation, supply and distribution of electricity and thermal energy in Lithuania.
The €330m (LTL1.3bn) project is the biggest one that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) funded for a Spanish contractor. Iberdrola beat France’s Alstom, Germany’s Siemens and Canada’s SNC Lavalin to win the contract. The European Union committed itself to fund 57% of the project. Lietuvos Energija invested 33% while the remaining was provided by the National Ignalia Decommissioning Fund.
Construction of the power plant started in April 2009. Iberdrola was the EPC contractor for the plant and GE was the main equipment supplier.
Iberdrola built a similar cycle type power plant in Latvia, which was inaugurated in May 2009. Located in Riga in Latvia, the plant has a capacity of 420MW. It is equipped with a district heating system that provides heating and hot water for a population of approximately 7,000 in the southern part of Riga.
The plant has one block encompassing a gas turbine with dry low nitrogen oxide (Nox) combustors. The cycle technology of the power plant is based on a single shaft arrangement. It consists of 9FB gas turbine, along with a heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) and D12 steam turbine. A static converter forms the start-up system for the gas turbine.
The 9FB gas turbine is the next level of improvement in GE’s F series of turbines that use state-of-the-art technology to provide a high level of output and efficiency. Technology used in the FB series results in better fuel economy and also reduces the cost of producing electricity.
The HRSG installed in the plant is a triple pressure type and an unfired one. It is equipped with a reheat section and one reheat condensing steam turbine. It is also equipped with a static excitation system.
The plant includes a generator, a surface condenser, as well as auxiliary equipment.
For both gas and steam turbines a two-pole 3,000rpm hydrogen and water cooled common generator is provided. The excitation and protection system are redundant systems. An automatic voltage regulation system is also part of the plant.
In addition to the 455MW, the plant is also capable of producing 75t/h steam (13bar, 300°C) for start-up needs of the existing units.
Cooling water for the steam turbine condenser and other cooling loads is drawn from a nearby lake. The power plant also complies with the emissions requirements of both Lithuania and EU.
The combine cycle unit, with more than 58% efficiency, generates sufficient power to cover 20% to 25% of Lithuanian domestic demand. The plant generated 1.11TWh of electricity in 2013.
The 1,800MW Elektranai Power Plant or Lithuanian Power Plant replaced Ignalia Power Plant as the prime supplier to the country, upon closure of the Ignalia plant in December 2010. Built from 1960 to 72, Elektranai plant had eight units.
The plant received environmental upgrades to meet EU emission standards. Flue gas desulpharisation project was taken up in 2005.
The Iberdrola power plant was an important step in upgrading the country’s power generation facilities. The majority of the country’s electricity needs were being earlier fulfilled by the 3,000MW Ignalina nuclear plant.
Similar to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the Ignalina power plant lacked a sturdy containment building. Lithuania had to close unit 1 of the nuclear plant in 2004 to qualify for being part of the European Union. Unit 2 of the plant was closed in 2010.
With the closure of the plant, electricity prices in Lithuania were expected to increase by about 40%. In addition, 75% of the power sector would have be dependent on natural gas supplied from Russia for meeting their energy needs. The plant closure, therefore, necessitated the setting up of alternative power generation facilities.
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