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Boiler leak detected at Auvere plant after post-maintenance restart

Enefit Power.
Enefit Power. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The Auvere power plant, which has been offline since a fault was detected in August, was restarted on Sunday. However, after a leak was detected in the plant's boiler on Tuesday morning, it remains unclear when the plant will be fully operational once again.

Following its August failure, annual maintenance work went ahead on the plant as scheduled the end of September, which has prevented it from generating electricity since. The annual maintenance had been due to finish in October but was then delayed until the end of last week.

The plant was restarted on Sunday and expected to reach full capacity by Tuesday. However, on Tuesday morning, a leak was detected in the plant's boiler, leading to a shutdown in electricity production.

"As the boiler was operating in normal mode at 800 degrees at the time of the shutdown, it is not possible at this stage to say exactly how serious the fault is. We will know more once the plant has cooled down. Then it will also be possible to predict when the plant might be up and running again," said Eesti Energia spokesperson Mattias Kaiv.

In August, one of the plant's heat exchangers, which had not been replaced during earlier maintenance work, failed, causing a shutdown. With the remaining heat exchangers subsequently replaced as part of the plant's annual maintenance, Eesti Energia had expected them to make a significant contribution to improving reliability.

However, Kaib pointed out, that connecting Auvere to the grid will not be a magic wand when it comes to addressing concerns over electricity costs. The power plant's market capacity is just 274 megawatts (MW) and has little impact on electricity prices.

In comparison, the capacity of Finland's Olkiluoto 3 nuclear plant, which has a strong impact on electricity prices in the region, is 1, 600 MW.

"Nevertheless, depending on the shortfall in the market, the Auvere power plant could mitigate some of the higher peak hour prices," Kaiv said.

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Editor: Michael Cole

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