The Town of Trakai is the administrative centre of the Municipality of Trakai, of which area is 1,208 km2 and a number of people is 37,000. Hereof 20,000 live in cities and 17’000 in rural area.
The ancient town of Trakai is situated 28 km away from the capital Vilnius. It is a historical place – in 14-16 centuries Trakai was a capital and the residence of grand dukes of Lithuania.
Due to ancient castle, clean lakes, picturesque nature and its location near Vilnius, Trakai has been lovely summer resort to many visitors. Trakai municipality is considered to have most lakes in Lithuania - there are around 200 lakes in the region. The main economic activity is tourism.
There are several middle-sized towns in the municipality. These are: Trakai (5.4 thousand inhabitants), Lentvaris (11.7), Aukstadvaris (1.0), Rudiskes (2.5), Senieji Trakai (1.5).
Trakai coat of arms.
The energy system in Trakai
The Municipality is responsible for heat supply only while electricity and natural gas are out of its scope. In all abovementioned towns, households are the main consumers of district heating. Depending on the town size, there are 30-200 multifamily houses in each town, which are heated using district heating. Natural gas is the main fuel while prospects of bioenergy fuels are unclear due to pollution by solid particles, which is not allowed by existing environmental restrictions for touristic areas.
Recently the municipal district heating company has been leased out to the operation of the DH system to the private company “E-energija” for 25 years.
The Lithuanian energy sector
75% of the floor area in Lithuania is heated by district heating. In the biggest cities, combined electricity-heat production is used. Modern CHP plants operate in Vilnius (384 MWe) and Kaunas (178 MWe).
Since 1997, municipalities have owned and in most cases operated district heating systems, which are widespread throughout Lithuania and provide space heating for about 1.4 million consumers. One third of district heating companies have been leased out to private operators.
From 2003 heat sector has been regulated by the Heat law, which introduced heat supply planning, encouraged competition among energy/fuel suppliers and service providers, set principal organisation of management, supervision and maintenance of consumer heating installations, established detailed provisions for heat pricing, etc. The Heat law was followed up by a great number of secondary acts which provided more detail and precision in defining particular aspects of regulation.
Natural gas sector
Natural gas is supplied by Russian company “Gazprom”. It is the sole natural gas supplier for all Lithuanian consumers. In Lithuania, a company AB “Lietuvos dujos” owns and operates about 8 thousand km of natural gas networks and makes main sales of natural gas to consumers. There is one more natural gas supply company UAB “Dujotekana”, however, it does not own any distribution network. “Dujotekana” buys gas from the same Gazprom and resells it to Lithuanian consumers, therefore it does not contribute to real competition among natural gas suppliers.
Natural gas sales are growing. To improve reliability of natural gas supply, construction of an undergroud natural gas storage is discussed. The main government concern is about natural gas prices, which are solely at Gazprom disposal and may be a matter of political issues.
Currently, the Lithuanian electricity system fully meets the national electricity demands: the electricity consumption is 10.8 TWh. The maximum load is 1,952 MW. The Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant generated 78.2%, thermal power plants generated 17.1%, hydro power plants and the pumped storage power plant generated 4.7%. Considerable amount of electricity is exported. In 2007, 7.3 TWh of electricity was exported to Byelorussia and Russia.
A planned closure of Ignalina nuclear power plant (INPP) in 2009 will provide the main impact on overall performance of the energy sector.
Currently, local and renewable fuels of all kind – peat, wood, wood waste, straw, hydro, wind and geothermal energy, - make up about 9% in the overall primary energy balance. It is intended to raise this share up to 12% in 2010.
The energy sector is governed by Energy Law, which serves as an umbrella law to sectoral laws. There are separate sectoral laws imposing regulations on each sector: electricity, heat and natural gas. Each law is followed up by a number of secondary acts, the largest number of these being in the heat sector.
Municipal Energy Planning in Trakai
A mandatory municipal Heat Plan was prepared in late 2004 for the towns Trakai and Lentvaris. It defined 8 heating zones in Trakai and 7 heating zones in Lentvaris (DH Zones, mixed heating zones, individual heating zones).
The heat plan for Lentvaris foresaw to demolish one of the boiler houses and to convert to bio fuel. Moreover an extensive modernisation of the DH network is planned (replacement of pipes and renovation of heat substations).
Following the initiatives of the project “SEC – Tools”, municipality of Trakai launched heat planning for 3 small towns: Aukstadvaris (1000 inhabitants), Senieji Trakai (1500) and Rudiskes (2500).
The Heat Plan is to be revised each 5 year.
SEC Tools Pilot Actions in Lithuania
Sustainable Energy Action Plan
From 2003 the Lithuanian heat sector has been regulated by a Heat law, which a.o. introduced municipal heat planning. Following this Law local energy plans were developed in the three communities during 2004 and which has been a starting point for the SEC Tools activities.
In relation to the existing planning process the SEC Tools pilot actions have focused on:
- Extending the current heat plan in Trakai with heat planning for 3 small towns
- Development of a new local planning guideline
- Identifying priorities for the future planning process
Some shortcomings were identified and adjusted in the current planning process, e.g. there was a need to provide a more realistic analysis of the demand side and a need for analysing more fuel supply options.
All recommendations were compiled into a new tool, the above-mentioned local energy planning guideline.
Local Energy Market – Biomass projects
A major concern in the communities and other parts of Lithuania is the rising heat price caused by the increasing prices of imported gas from Russia. These circumstances make more favourable conditions for fuel diversification, including replacement of clean and convenient but very expensive natural gas by cheaper local fuels such as wood chips or straw.
5 MW biomass plant in Kaisiadorys.
Thus, in Kaisiadorys the problems with the rising heat price has been met by the construction of a biomass fired heating plant, which has been built in parallel with the SEC Tools Project (commissioned in 2008).
The 5 MW wood-fired boiler plant use wood waste from local wood processing industries, and is substituting imported gas. In addition to increasing the local employment this plant will level out an expected increase in the heating price caused by the increasing prices for Russian imported gas.
In Trakai, a biomass plant is included in the local energy plan for Lentvaris Town, while in Trakai Town such is prohibited, due to its status as a cultural heritage.
Another option investigated for all of the three communities is construction of a 1 MW straw-fired boiler plant based on an ESCO agreement with local farmers or a local agricultural co-operative to supply the straw and operate straw-fired boilers.
The analyses indicate a relatively short pay-back time for this option.
According to current legislation independent heat producers may sell heat to district heating networks and the district company is obliged to buy heat at the agreed price provided it is lower than comparable heat production cost incurred by the district heating company.
Local Energy Market – ESCO projects
There is a general need to identify financing options for energy projects, and particularly local financing options in relation to ESCO models.
Various options have been investigated with regard to assessing the possibility of implementing ESCO projects in the communities.
The ESCO market in Lithuania is assessed mostly usable in public buildings and in relation to operation of small-scale boilers as mentioned above.
The residential market has been viewed as immature for projects due to current ownership structures, non-paying consumers, lack of trust and difficulty in controlling occupant behaviour.
This may depend on further development of ESCO concepts tailored to the residential market and initiation of demonstration projects in this regard.
ESCO projects can be combined with financing from local Lithuanian banks, and with guarantees for micro credits from the Government institution INVEGA.
Renovated residential house in Kelme.
Multifamily houses in all 3 communities consume for space heating 2-3 times more of heat energy compared to more advanced EU countries. In the context of the sharply rising prices urgent actions are needed to improve energy efficiency in households.
However, numerous attempts of authorities to motivate people to launch renovation failed because peoples’ behaviour had been very passive and sceptical due to a great number of reasons, which deserve a broader discussion.
In relation to this problem part of the SEC Tools pilot actions have focused on tools to motivate residential end-users.
Local Energy Market – Biomass projects
Careful analysis revealed barriers that impede house modernisation. These include – improper house management and lack of accumulated funds that might catalyse modernisation.
The main focus has been put on introduction of heat saving measures to enable consumers to individually regulate heat consumption and reduce their consumption and heat bills.
New heat cost allocation methods that offer consumer motivation to save energy were developed and submitted to the Price Commission for approval. The Commission approved the methods in August 2008 and now they are available to households.
A special brochure for consumers explaining benefits from the new heat cost allocation methods was issued and distributed for a broad audience.
This would be a way to show the whole community a cheap way to improve energy efficiency in households by regulating consumption and adjusting heating to individual needs.
Up to now, not a single multifamily house in all 3 municipalities has been equipped with individual heat regulators and people have no understanding that such technical means may improve their economy.
Mobilising end-users – Energy Management in public buildings
Energy saving measures was implemented in Schools and kinder gardens under a WB programme and further improvements are planned.
Heat planning meeting in Trakai.
To support this process, the Municipality of Trakai is considering introducing energy management procedures in public buildings. An energy management system using energy meters and computers will allow the Municipality to control and monitor energy consumption more efficiently and thereby help to reduce energy costs.
Within the SEC Tools project the Municipality has reviewed experience from other countries and various energy management tools in relation to the specific needs within the Municipality.
Also in Kaisiadorys improvements in public buildings are planned. In 2008 energy audits were made for two kindergartens in Kaisiadorys followed by preparation of a technical project, based on the audit results. After implementation of the technical project the kindergartens will be fully modernised.
Mobilising end-users – Management of multi-family houses
As mentioned above the municipal authorities have encouraged people to embark on renovation of their houses. In the background of fast rising heat prises, reduction of heat consumption seems the only feasible alternative to withstand pressure on household budgets. The government operates a special programme on modernisation of multifamily houses and people are invited to participate in it. Up to 30% of renovation costs can be compensated from the state budget.
To participate in the programme, flat owners must order an energy audit and prepare an investment project based on the audit results. 7 multifamily houses in Trakai responded to municipal initiatives and decided to go on renovation. Municipality assisted them to organise all the preparation works and provided finance. At the end of 2008 7 houses had submitted applications to the programme and it is expected that their proposals will be selected for implementation and state co-funding.
In accordance with the project SEC-Tools, energy audits and investment projects were made for two residential houses in Kelme. As the main measures, outer walls were renovated together with roofs and staircase doors. Replacement of windows was left for individual decisions. One multifamily house was successfully renovated – the first one in the whole Kelme municipality. It is expected that this positive case will serve as a pattern and good experience will be spread out throughout the region.