The upgraded CHPPs of Latvenergo AS are mostly operated in the highly efficient cogeneration mode in accordance with the thermal energy demand which in turn depends on weather conditions and the duration of the heating season. Natural gas, the friendliest type of fossil fuel, is used as the primary fuel for the CHPPs.
The operation of the Latvenergo AS CHPPs can be flexibly adjusted to the electricity market conditions and guarantees a significant baseload electricity capacity for Latvia. Both CHPPs can cover Latvian electricity consumption almost completely in circumstances where, due to certain factors, electricity imports from foreign countries are limited.
In 2019, both plants played a very important role in meeting the demand for electricity, as the hydro energy output both in Latvia and throughout the Nord Pool region was comparatively low, and capacity shortages were observed in regional interconnections for the second year in a row due to dry weather conditions. In 2019, the CHPPs of Latvenergo Group generated historically the largest amount of electricity – 2.8 TWh. This is 5% more than in the previous year and accounts for 57% of the Group’s total electricity output.
The high electricity output at the CHPPs was enabled by their competitiveness, market demand for electricity and limited regional options to meet this demand. In 2019, the output at the Estonian oil shale plants was decreased due to the high level of harmful emissions. The upgraded CHPPs of Latvenergo AS, on the other hand, emit very low amounts of CO2 and use energy resources extremely efficiently. The CHPPs are expected to become even more competitive in the future, once the largest heat accumulation tank in the Baltics is built, further reducing the amount of CO2 emissions. The construction of the tank on the territory of CHPP-2 started in November 2019 and its completion is scheduled for the end of 2020.
The amount of thermal energy generated by CHPP-1 and CHPP-2 in 2019 was 1.6 TWh, a 20% decrease compared to the previous year. The drop was due to the increase in competition in the thermal energy market – five new heat producers have started operating in the thermal energy zones of the Latvenergo AS CHPPs since 2018 – as well as warmer weather during the heating season. The thermal energy generated is sold to Rīgas siltums AS at regulated tariffs.