Cover Story: A future to count on

On July 14, as Kaliningrad Region marked the 70th anniversary of its creation, concurrent construction began on three new CHPPs: Pregolskaya, Mayakovskaya and Talakhovskaya. At the groundbreaking ceremony, then-regional governor Nikolai TSUKANOV – now Presidential Plenipotentiary to the Northwestern Federal District – declared that the new power plants are a matter of life and death for the region. That was not just a vivid expression: the exclave’s energy sector is extremely vulnerable at this time.

Cover Story: A future to count on

Kaliningrad by dark

Over the past few years, Kaliningrad has experienced several serious blackouts and a large number of minor power outages. In August 2011, a storm front abruptly left half the region without power. For several hours, residents of Mamonov, Bagrationovsk, Baltiysk, Zelenogradsk, Svetlogorsk, Pionersky and dozens of other towns and villages in western Kaliningrad Region found themselves under blackout. Public transport came to a halt; health facilities and other social infrastructure were also affected.

Two years later, the exact same circumstances were repeated: an August thunderstorm knocked out a high-voltage line from Kaliningradskaya TPP-2, sending 36 substation feeders offline. That shut down the Severnaya substation, which supplies power to 60 percent of users in Kaliningrad plus the region’s coastal towns. For an hour and a half, ten municipalities with a total population of 645,300 were left in the dark until a backup source was arranged, transmitting power via Lithuania.

This year, too, was not without incident: a mishap at the Yuzhnaya substation left 8,500 people without electricity.

One shared grid

Kaliningrad Region sits at the far western edge of Russia, cut off entirely from the rest of the country by international borders on both land and sea. That exclave status is reflected in the local electricity grid, which is tied into UES of Russia via other countries’ transmission lines and forms part of the so-called BRELL Loop, which embraces Belarus, Russia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. In 2001, the five countries agreed to synchronize their grids, allowing them to swap electricity and provide one another with emergency reserves.

In recent years, the Baltic states have occasionally talked about leaving BRELL and linking up to the main European grid, or to NORDEL, which covers the continent’s northern countries: Finland, Sweden, Norway and eastern Denmark. With that goal in mind, eight EU member states in the Baltic region signed up to the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan in 2009. In 2012, the government of Lithuania approved a National Energy Independence Strategy, which calls for Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to synchronize their systems with the European grid. At the same time, the three countries are constructing power plants with a combined capacity of 2 GW.

The Kaliningrad grid was not designed to operate in isolation. Today, almost all demand (98 percent) is met by Kaliningradskaya TPP-2, with a capacity of 900 MW. The region also has three small CHPPs and two hydro power plants: Pravdinskaya HPP-3 (1.14 MW) and Ozerskaya HPP (0.5 MW). A 5.1 MW wind power plant operates in Zelenogradsky District.

From atoms to coal and gas

Because of the risk that Kaliningrad could be cut off from UES of Russia if the Baltic states sever their grid connections, the Russian Federation government has started taking steps to improve the region’s energy security. The initial focus was on the Baltic NPP project, with a capacity of 2.3 GW. Plans called for excess power to be shipped to Germany and the Baltic states, but preliminary negotiations with potential customers showed that neighboring countries were not interested. The Kaliningrad Region’s own consumers had no need for power on that scale, besides which the local grid was not prepared to hook up so much generating capacity. Since nuclear power could only be used as a baseline supply, leaving peak and semi-peak demand in the region to be covered by more flexible capacity, the decision was taken to drop the project.

In 2014, the Russian government issued Decree No. 1623-r “On securing a supply of electricity to Kaliningrad Region and the unified energy system of the Northwest of Russia.” Gas and coal were chosen to provide the region with a reliable power supply through to 2020.

As noted by Kaliningrad Region Minister of Infrastructure Development Elena DYATLOVA, a Ministry of Energy work group drew up five scenarios for the development of generating capacity in the region, but the gas and coal option was chosen for baseline power, in order to keep fuel sources diverse.

Although Kaliningrad Region is rich in peat, there are several constraints on using peat to generate power. First, peat production is seasonal, restricted to the period May – September. Second, it has a lower energy density than gas or coal. Finally, the region’s peat supply is finite and would not last for the entire operating life of a peat-fired plant.

The gas and coal scenario for the region envisages construction of a LNG (liquefied natural gas) terminal with an annual capacity of 2.7 billion cubic meters and three gas-fired power plants in Kaliningrad, Gusev and Sovetsk, plus a modern coal-fired plant in Svetly municipal district.

“In other words, the plan is to make the supply of electricity more reliable by constructing reserve generation facilities spread across several locations that, at the same time, are not far from where growth in power consumption is concentrated,” says Elena DYATLOVA.

Flexibility, reserves and reliability

Kaliningrad Generation LLC was set up to implement the regional energy security plan, with a 99.99 percent stake held by Rosneftegaz and the remainder by Inter RAO. Rosneftegaz is the principal investor, while design work for the new power plants is being handled by Inter RAO – Engineering. Altogether some 100 billion rubles (excluding VAT) will be spent on construction of the plants, plus a further 15 billion on transmission infrastructure put up by Yantarenergo, a subsidiary of ROSSETI. The investment will be recovered via a capacity surcharge for users in the first wholesale pricing zone (Central Russia).

Thanks to these efforts, by 2020 the existing Kaliningradskaya TPP-2 will have been joined by the 440 MW Pregolskaya CHPP, consisting of four combined cycle power plants with a capacity of 110 MW each. The Mayakovskaya CHPP in Gusev and Talakhovskaya CHPP in Sovetsk will each provide a further 156 MW. All three will be running highly-flexible open-cycle turbines intended to meet peak demand. In addition, the coal-fired Primorskaya CHPP (195 MW) will be operating in Vzmorye (Svetly municipal district). Turbines for all four plants will be manufactured in Russia by Russian Gas Turbines, a joint venture of GE, Inter RAO and Rostec, at Rybinsk in Yaroslavl Region. Other key equipment (generators, waste heat recovery boilers and steam turbines) will also be produced domestically.

“The coal-fired plant, unlike a RES, can provide load frequency control for the grid – a critical requirement for the system as a whole. Other advantages include the ability to build up long-term fuel reserves and reliable supplies, which can be brought in by sea, bypassing other countries,” explains Kaliningrad Generation’s General Director, Gennady BINKO.

Construction of the Pregolskaya, Mayakovskaya and Talakhovskaya power plants began in July, with work on the Primorskaya CHPP scheduled to start by the end of the year. “Kaliningradskaya TPP-2 generates sufficient power, but the issue now goes beyond that. We are going to develop industrial parks and industrial sites, and electricity consumption will grow,” former Kaliningrad Region governor Nikolai TSUKANOV said.

Installed generating capacity in the region will more than double in four years. The new plants will not only ensure energy security, but will also make the Kaliningrad Region grid more maneuverable: in the event of accidents or maintenance work at existing power stations, the new plants will have enough capacity to cover peak demand.

Existing generation facilities

Thermal plants

Kaliningradskaya TPP-2

Installed capacity: 900 MW.
Primary source of electricity.

Gusevskaya CHPP 

Installed capacity: 8.5 MW.
Operates only during the cold season.

Sovetskteploseti CHPP-10 

Installed capacity
: 36 MW.
Mainly supplies power to a pulp and paper plant, plus the city of Sovetsk during the cold season.


Pravdinskaya HPP-3 

Capacity: 1.14 MW

Ozerskaya HPP

Capacity: 0.5 MW

Malaya Zaozernaya HPP

Capacity: 0.1 MW
(currently mothballed)

Wind power

Zelenogradskaya WPP
Installed capacity: 5.1 MW


950 MW – total current installed capacity in the region.
This will rise to 2 GW once the new power plants are complete.

Under construction 

Pregolskaya CHPP

Total installed capacity: 440 MW

4 combined cycle installations with a capacity of 110 MW each
Primary fuel: natural gas
Energy conversion efficiency: 51.2%
Fuel consumption: 240 g/kWh
Under construction next to Kaliningradskaya TPP-2. Planned completion date: 2018

Mayakovskaya CHPP

Total installed capacity: 156 MW

2 gas turbine installations with a capacity of 78 MW each
Primary fuel: natural gas
Energy conversion efficiency: 35.5%
Fuel consumption: 346 g/kWh
Under construction in Gusev. Planned completion date: 2018

Talakhovskaya CHPP
Total installed capacity: 156 MW
2 gas turbine installations with a capacity of 78 MW each
Primary fuel: natural gas
Energy conversion efficiency: 35.5%
Fuel consumption: 346 g/kWh
Under construction in Sovetsk. Planned completion date: 2018

Primorskaya CHPP

Total installed capacity: 195 MW
3 steam turbine installations with a capacity of 65 MW each
Primary fuel: coal
Energy conversion efficiency: 35.6%
Fuel consumption: 353 g/kWh
Construction to begin in Svetly municipal district in 2016. Planned completion date: 2019

Kaliningrad Region Energy System
Geographical area: 15,100 sq. km 
Population: 966,000 
Land borders with Lithuania and Poland, Baltic Sea to the west
Main mineral resource: oil
In-place reserves: approx. 49.2 mn metric tons
Recoverable reserves: approx. 11.7 mn tons
Essentially Russia’s – and the world’s – only source of amber

Demand for electricity, 5 year increase

4.093 bn kWh
4.415 bn kWh

Peak consumption (January 31, 2014): 843 MW

Electricity consumption

4,373.5 mn kWh
4,414.7 mn kWh

Power generation

3.8% less
6,200.3 mn kWh
6,442.8 mn kWh
Excess power produced in Kaliningrad Region was transmitted to the Lithuanian grid.
Net outflows from the Kaliningrad Region grid in 2015: 1,826.8 mn kWh



Three 330 kV substations: Tsentralnaya, Severnaya and Sovetsk 
More than sixty 110 kV substations 

Under construction

• Beregovaya 110 kV (Oktyabrsky Island in Kaliningrad)
• Khrabrovo 110 kV (Zelenogradsky District, between the towns of Khrabrovo and Privolnoye)
2,000 km of overhead transmission lines at 60–330 kV
More than 13,000 km of power transmission lines in total
250 km of high-voltage (110 and 330 kV) transmission lines will be strung to link the new power plants to the existing grid.

By 2020, Kaliningrad Region may need 693 MW in additional generating capacity

: Prospective Development Plan and Program for the Kaliningrad Region Electrical Grid, 2016–2020


04-12-2016 14:36

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