Kiisa backup power plant can't lower electricity prices

Kiisa emergency power plant near Tallinn, Estonia.
Kiisa emergency power plant near Tallinn, Estonia. Source: Elering

Although Elering has an emergency standby power plant in Kiisa, it cannot be used to mitigate record high electricity prices, because the system operator does not participate in the electricity market and the emergency plant is only intended to replace regular power plants in the event of an unexpected failure.

The Kiisa emergency reserve power plant in Harju County has a total capacity of 250 megawatts, which equals to one-sixth of the maximum consumption of Estonia. Nevertheless, the power plant is used only a few times per year.

Ain Köster, Elering's communications manager, told ERR that the Kiisa plant is launched when something unexpected happens to one of the regularly operating power plants, such as a network failure or capacity shortfall. The plant then takes over the work of the failed power plant for that day or hour and it does not participate in the everyday electricity production.

"In fact, the law specifically prohibits Elering, the transmission system operator for the Estonian electricity network, from participating in the electricity market," Köster said.

Kiisa station is powered by natural gas as a primary fuel and diesel oil as a back-up fuel.

Due to the current turmoil in the energy market, four million liters of diesel fuel were delivered to Kiisa in July; thus, as much reserve fuel as possible has been stocked.

"We have sufficient fuel reserves to keep Kiisa operating at full capacity for seven days," Köster added.

Between 6 and 7 p.m. on Wednesday, the power exchange rate reached a record high of €4,000 per megawatt-hour. The daily average price per megawatt-hour has also set a new record high of €682.05.

As the present Nord Pool power market price ceiling of €4,000 per megawatt-hour exceeds 60 percent of the maximum in a specific pricing area, the maximum price will automatically increase in compliance with European Commission regulation by €1,000.

This means that in five weeks the maximum price per megawatt-hour on the electricity exchange will increase to €5,000.


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Editor: Kristina Kersa

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