The Lithuanian Business Support Agency (LSBA) has granted €235,000 ($267,500) to support development of an experimental floating solar photovoltaic power plant at the existing 900-MW Kruonis pumped-storage hydroelectric plant in Lithuania.
The floating solar plant will be developed by Lithuanian state-owned enterprise Lietuvos Energijos Gamyba, together with scientists from Kaunas University of Technology (KTU).
LBSA and the Ministry of the Economy and Innovation have decided to fund the project after considering 139 applications, 91 of which received grants. The floating solar power plant project was rated among the best applications.
Lietuvos Energijos Gamyba manages the Kruonis facility, which is located near Kruonis, Lithuania. It is intended to balance electricity supply and demand and is capable of ensuring 94% of the total energy reserves for Lithuania in case of emergency, Lietuvos Energijos Gamyba says. The first unit began operating in 1992 and the final one in 1998.
During the primary stage of the project, Lietuvos Energijos Gamyba and KTU plan to install an experimental 60-kW solar power plant in the upper reservoir of the Kruonis pumped-storage project and to develop an algorithm for managing the power plant and energy storage system. The algorithm will take into account constantly registered network and other physical parameters of the Kruonis plant.
“Being the first of its kind in the region, this project provides us with a great possibility to become a leader in renewable energy technologies and promote Lithuania in the international R&D community,” says Dominykas Tuckus, development and infrastructure director at Lietuvos Energija Group.
The primary stage of the project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2021.
“As Bill Gates once told, if he had to choose his future career now, he would go for artificial intelligence, energy or biosciences, the three spheres he considers to have the biggest impact to the world,” said Saulius Gudzius, professor of the electrical and electronic engineering faculty at KTU. “With the floating solar power plant project, we aim to combine the first two spheres – new energy solutions and digital technologies, developing an algorithm to manage the system of energy production. This experimental solution should make a significant contribution both in terms of creating a sustainable energy system and promoting technological competitiveness of the country.”
According to a press release, in the future, the floating photovoltaic solar power plant could use the whole upper reservoir, covering more than 300 hectares. The structure, resistant to ice and waves, will also be designed to adjust to water-level variations. At full size, the solar system could have a capacity of 200 MW to 250 MW. Combined with battery energy storage systems, a technology like this would allow Lietuvos Energijos Gamyba to provide reliable FCR and primary reserve services. This will be of key importance for Lithuania before and after 2025, when the country joins the continental European grid, the company says.