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Solar power plants on water: experts assess whether it would be useful for Lithuanians

German energy giant RWE and Dutch and Norwegian companies SolarDuck announced in July that they would cooperate on the establishment of a North Sea solar park, a planned 5 MW project near a Dutch offshore wind farm.

The companies say “SolarDuck” technologies are a solution to the “increasing lack of land in renewable energy development”, and the integration of floating solar power plants with offshore wind power plants will allow more efficient use of the ocean area and ensure a better balance of energy production.

Martynas Nagevičius, president of the Lithuanian Confederation of Renewable Energy (LAIEK), recently raised doubts on the social network about the need to build solar power plants on water. At least in Lithuania, according to him, such projects would have no prospects in the near future.

“It’s more for countries where it’s really difficult to find enough space for solar or wind power plants. For example, Japan – a lot of people live in a fundamentally very small area, a lot of it is mountains , and the electricity consumption is huge with this Japanese industry. In Lithuania, it doesn’t really make sense, because the electricity consumption is low, and the land is abundant,” Mr. Nagevičius commented on ” Delphi”.

© DELFI / Josvydas Elinskas

According to him, the North Sea experience is more forward-looking and probably destined for another place.

“Maybe that means that the infrastructure is built next to the existing offshore wind power plants, as they have been put in place. (…) If it was resistant, it could resist even in the North Sea, then maybe in the future they could somehow develop this technology in the markets where the need for it first arises, thinking of the same Japan or other of the countries. I really don’t think we’re talking about this market – Scandinavia, the Baltics,” said LAIEK’s president.

Vitas Mačiulis, president of the Lithuanian Solar Energy Association (LSEA), is convinced that there is enough space for this type of energy in Lithuania and on earth.

“There is enough space in Lithuania. It can be said that only 0.03% would be needed to produce all the electricity that Lithuania needs. to cover the entire territory of Lithuania: three hundredths of a percent. It there is therefore enough space in Lithuania.

There are some advantages over water in generating a little more: sunlight is reflected by the water. But Lithuania doesn’t really need to build solar power plants on water,” says V. Mačiulis.

The public group Ignitis announced last February that the experimental project of the floating solar power plant at the Kruonis hydro-storage plant (HAE) would not be continued, at least in the near future.

During the installation of the low-power power plant, it became clear that it could not be operated efficiently and reliably here, so the subsidiaries “Ignitis Gamyba” and “Ignitis” (the latter carried out installation) have agreed to halt construction, the group reports.


Kruonis HAE solar power plant

Kruonis HAE solar power plant

© Company photo.

The experimental project focusing on the development of science and innovation was initiated by considering the possibility of using the upper basin area of ​​Kruonis HAE by installing a floating solar power plant there. The total value of the project was 239 thousand. euros (excluding VAT).

Mr. Nagevičius believes that however successful the experiments are, it is necessary to carry them out, because he does not know which technology or solution will prove beneficial in the long term.

“Speaking of all the experimental, test projects, I can say the same thing that they are all necessary, because if you don’t do it, you will never find the one of the 30 who drowned, who will actually do a breakthrough in the entire energy sector thereafter.

It’s a natural process here. Being angry that the experiment failed (not worth it), maybe the idea itself was quite interesting,’ says Mr Nagevičius.

He says he sees even more meaning in HAE’s floating power plant projects than in marine projects.

“We would have succeeded, we would have become famous, we would have sold it to others in the world (…). In the near future, if we use it not for tests, but for the production of energy, I don’t see it,” the expert said of the prospects for solar power plants on water.

V. Mačiulis also believes that such power plants are more relevant for other regions.

“The Lithuanians tried to build such a power plant in Denmark, because there are countries where there is a lack of space, and I know that Lithuanian modules were used in the Maldives to build a power plant on the Yes, there are areas where there is really no place to build this power station and we have to use water,” he said.

When asked if building a power plant on water might be attractive to locals, V. Mačiulis replied that it would only be profitable under specific circumstances.


Solar power plants on water: experts assess whether it would be useful for Lithuanians

© DELFI / Šarūnas Mazeika

“It can happen that a person has a private lake, but he has no land. Or there is a forest. So why not build on a lake? Why should he buy land somewhere – he will use his small lake for this purpose.Easy to install.

It’s just that, you know, because we have freezing winters, that’s why there were problems at Kruoni, because you have to build very strong buoys, which costs more . It is easy to build where ice does not form,” explained the expert.

Mr. Nagevičius says that it is possible to assert that the evaporation of water from the pond may decrease due to the power station, but this is not very relevant in Lithuania.

“What’s the point of building in a pond if there’s a meadow nearby?” I’m not talking about the roof anymore. Except for fun. It is possible to invent something, that the evaporation decreases a little in the pond, but again, Lithuania is not the country where the evaporated liters are counted and each liter of water is very expensive’ ‘, he says.

When asked whether it would not be more appropriate to use wave energy to balance wind power plants, Mr Nagevičius said that the relevance of this energy is understood in the European Union, but the projects are receptive to investment.

“Here, mainly in Europe, we’re talking about these countries that have a lot of coastline and a lot of tides and waves – that’s the UK, France. is a fairly constant production of electricity.

The cost is high now, probably higher than nuclear technology, but in the future, after much investment in scientific research and development, this technology has the potential to be commercial. But, of course, not in Lithuania. Because here there are no tides, low tides, or these big waves,” he said.

Speaking about the possibilities of solar energy, V. Mačiulis said that the efficiency of the modules is increasing.

“There are two-sided modules that use both direct light and back-reflected light. 10-15% is possible. generate more power. And anyway, the efficiency of the modules just keeps to increase, the technologies are improving,” he said.

The Ministry of Energy announced in November that as Lithuania prepares to announce an auction for the development of the first offshore wind farm next year, another offshore wind farm is planned. The government has already approved amendments to the laws defining the tender conditions for the development of another offshore wind farm of up to 700 MW. Changes still need to be approved by the Seimas.

According to the ministry, in the first three quarters of this year, Lithuania produced 37.8% of energy demand, almost two thirds of it – 62%. – composed of electricity from renewable energy sources.

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Source: The Delfi

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