Situation. Hydro energy-national, renewable, ecological and technologically well-developed source of energy. Utilization of hydro energy is not sufficient in Lithuania comparing with the experience of developed countries and bearing the EU requirements (member countries are required in 2010 to cover 12% of they energy demand using renewable energy sources (RES)). Today, the share of RES in total energy balance-of Lithuania is only 7% and it is formed by 2 only traditional RES-wood and hydro energy. It means, that this EU requirement could be meet only by extension of hydro power utilization in Lithuania. Only about 14% of available technical hydro energy resources are being utilized in Lithuania. Their share in the total energy balance is only 1% and in the electricity balance -3%.
2. The technical or real hydro energy resources consist of 2,7 109 kWh/year In Lithuania. About 2,2 109 kWh/year or 80% of all resources fall on the share of the 2 biggest rivers -: Nemunas and Neris. The share of all middle and small rivers (470) is about 0,5 109 kWh/year or 20%. Though big HPP are more attractive than small HPP from economic and significance points of view, but due to surplus of capacities in power system, strict environmental requirements, big investments and they are rather the problem of further perspective. However it is necessary to study their possibilities already now.
3. At this time small HPP, with installed capacity lower than 10MW, constructed on middle and small rivers especially on the sites of existing water ponds are economically efficient and profitable right now, because of unified construction, standard equipment, fully automatic operation, small amount of personnel needed. They construction examples in Lithuania confirm this fact. Nearly 15 new SHPP were constructed and the total number of SHPP operating in Lithuania are 24 with total capacity of about 7MW. The business of small HPP became attractive for private investors. Although the SHPP construction is relative expensive, especially for smaller HPP, but because of low operating costs they could pay back with any risk. The biggest and oldest HPP is Kaunas HPP (100 MW), which produces 350 106 kWh/year and is a good example of hydro energy efficiency. Kruonis hydro pump power station (800MW) is operating in Lithuania too.
4. SHPP construction in Lithuania will be completed in two stages:
5. The relative example of SHPP economical efficiency evaluation. We have a project of SHPP on existing water pond: installed capacity - 100 kW, water head - 5m, water flow -2.5 m3/s. The cost of installed 1 kW, as the experience of new SHPP construction indicated, is about 6000Lt. Then the investments will make 600000 Lt: energy equipment - 400000, civil works - 200000Lt. Utilization of installed capacity during the year could amount to about 4500 hours and electricity production will be 450000 kWh/year. If the purchase tariff of hydro energy will be the same as today (0.161 Lt/kWh) the annual incomes will reach 72450 Lt. Taking from the income the operation costs (2% of investments costs), we will receive a net incomes - 60450 Lt. The pay-back period is about 10 years, but SHPP usually serves above 60 years.
- Reconstruction of abandoned SHPP and construction SHPP on existing water ponds (1/3 cheaper as to construct on new site). The real possibilities are 131 SHPP with total installed capacity 16 MW and electricity production 60 106 kWh/year. The time period is 5-10 years.
- Construction of new SHPP on new sites according to environmental requirements. The real possibilities are evaluated about 500 106 kWh/year. They will have a lower water head and bigger water flow comparing with SHPP built on existing water ponds. The time period for the construction is 15-20 years.
6. In order to accelerate hydro energy development the stimulating Government policy, legal basis and clear environmental requirements are necessary. The economic efficiency and profitability of hydro energy and other RES projects could be increased using the extended cost-benefit analysis, where integration of external costs or avoided damage burning fossil fuel is applied.
7. "Lithuanian National Solar Program 1998-2005" is a logical continuation of program "The solar and other RES for agriculture 1996-1999", which was supported by Science and Study Fund. This new program will accumulate further extended studies of hydro energy utilization, not only for agriculture purposes. The principle "study-realization-production" is being applied.
8. Proposed project "The background of rational hydro energy utilization in Lithuania" consists from several works:
In field of information the work "Lithuanian Atlas of Small Scale Hydropower resources" is proposed.
- Technical-economical evaluation of renewable energy sources using the concept of avoided damage for environment;
- Hydro energy and complex utilization of water resources
- Determination of the most suitable sites on rivers for SHPP construction
- Methodology of determining the optimal hydro development scheme
- Selection of energy equipment for SHPP in Lithuanian conditions
- Arrangement, structure and types of SHPP hydrotechnical constructions in Lithuania
- Determination of environmental protection means for SHPP
- Preparation of legal basis for hydro energy regulation in Lithuania.