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ESO switches off thermal electricity plants because of wind farms' operations

Power plants on renewables up to 5 MW will pay in advance 25 thousand BGN per MW at the moment of signing the re-arrangement with electricity distribution companies

3E news
29-03-2011 07:01:50
Electricity System Operator (ESO), a subsidiary of the National Electricity Company (NEC), restricts the operations of the coal-fired power plants in Bulgaria to guarantee wind farms operations early morning, said representatives of the operator to 3E during the discussion for second reading in the parliamentary energy committee of the new bill on renewable energy sources (RES).



According to the economy ministry the signed re-arrangements are for 500 MW capacity, so are the signed contracts. Included wind farms currently exceed 200 MW. The plan for development of renewable energy by 2020, sent to the European Commission for approval, foresees building of 1200 MW wind and 300 MW photovoltaic capacity. The maximum option is for 1800 MW wind farms and 600 MW photovoltaics.



"The system can bear only about 2500 MW, because there are no balancing capacities," explained Nikolai Nalbantov, acting Director of "Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Directorate" with the economy ministry. He added that this has threatened the security of the system and supply. According to operator’s experts now for covering of unsteady operations of wind turbines in certain moments, pumped storage hydro power plant (PSHPP) Chaira is switched on, but its capacities have to be hold in reserve.



Experts insist for construction of dam and hydro power plant Yadenitsa, which are spoken by at least 10 yearsm, or gas plants, which can quickly be switched on and off. The price of energy generated by these plants is high, but their regulation is significantly cheaper, experts said. Last week were limited operations of Enel Maritza East 3. Resuming of operations of one of plant’s unit takes 6-8 hours, experts say.



Economy Ministry announced that last year, Bulgaria has achieved 15% share of energy generation from RES and thus fulfilled the indicative target of the EU's 16% share by 2020. SEWRC Chaiman Angel Semerdjiev announced to MPs that investment boom in renewable energy will increase the price to end users. Experts estimate that for the period to 2020 the increase will be 12-20%.



Investors in renewable energy sources power plants up to 5 MW will pay an advance 25 thousand BGN for single MW at the moment of signing of re-arrangement with CEZ, E. ON and EVN. Above this capacity the sum paid in advance is doubled. This is the decision of members of the parliamentary economy committee taken after proposal of GERB party. Bulgarian wind energy association opposed decision and asked for a bank guarantee instead. According to its representatives the decision imposes E.ON’s monopoly on accession and building of grid.



"I am disappointed by the attitude of business – initially they supported the proposal and now they see cracks in it. It is obvious that the requested sum in advance is a way to sift out unreliable from the serious investors," Traicho Traikov, minister of economy and energy said. The sums, paid in advance, were opposed as well as by the DPS party MP. They believe the decision contradicts to the Constitution.

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