Lithuania utility spins off 900-MW Kruonis, 100-MW Kaunas

Shareholders of Lithuanian utility Lietuvos Energija AB voted December 4 to spin off its 900-MW Kruonis pumped-storage project and its 100-MW Kaunas hydroelectric project into separate companies.

The functional unbundling of the two generating units from transmission-owning Lietuvos Energija is necessary to comply with a European Union directive requiring that utilities’ transmission functions be separated from their generation and supply businesses.

Agreements in May that established national investment company LEO LT as 96.4 percent owner of Lietuvos Energija also provided for separation of the generators from the grid operator.

First phase of Kaunas rehab nears completion

Lietuvos Energija said the 80 million litai (US$29.8 million) first phase of rehabilitation of the Kaunas hydro project is expected to be complete in December with scheduled testing completion of 25-MW Unit 3.

Final testing of Unit 4 was completed by Alstom Power Sweden AB on November 29 at the 43-year-old Kaunas on the Neumunas River. Kaunas Plant Director Juozas Bartlingas said unit efficiency increased 5.5 percent compared to a goal of a 4 percent increase.

The total 125 million litai (US$46.6 million) rehabilitation program began in 2005, with 30 million litai (US$29.8 million) supplied by the European Union. Main goals are to increase operational efficiency, upgrade regulation and control processes, and sustain the protection of the environment.

The remainder of the total investment is allocated for second phase of the rehabilitation, upgrading Units 1 and 2, to begin in 2009.

Lietuvos Energija awarded a contract in 2007 to VA Tech Hydro to supply equipment to refurbish the Kruonis pumped-storage project. (HNN 3/14/07)

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