ESO: It is possible to export RES energy from Bulgaria

Requests for the construction of renewable energy plants in Western Bulgaria alone exceed the capabilities of the country's entire energy system

Energy / Green Transition
3E news
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Source: Ivan Kolovos /

George Velev

If the installed photovoltaic systems in Bulgaria reach 3000 MW, the produced electricity will have to be exported abroad. This can happen in the summer, when the load on the power system averages around 4,500 MW. And in addition to solar systems, we also have two operating units of the Kozloduy NPP. This became clear from the words of Angelin Tsachev, executive director of the Electricity System Operator. He took part in the largest regional forum for green transformation, innovation and tomorrow's industries - Green Week 2023, organized for the third year in a row by and 3E-news.

According to ESO data, the load on the energy network in our country in the summer is on average about 4,500 MW, with 2,000 MW coming from the Kozloduy NPP.

The reason for this export of RES energy is because of the lower demand for electricity, which is observed in summer time in our country. Tsachev was adamant that Bulgaria has similar electricity production to countries like Greece and Spain. And in Romania you can see how much potential the production of electricity from the sun can have.

At the moment we already have data and we observe about 1900 hours per year of electricity production from the solar plants in the region. According to this indicator, we are approaching Spain, Greece and other southern European countries. With Greece, even the difference in our production is about 5%.

But at 6 p.m. the solar plants stop their production and some 1500-2000 MW. must be compensated. That's why different ways and systems of electricity storage are being sought, including through PAVEC, added Tsachev.

According to Tsachev RES, power plants are important, useful and irreplaceable capacities producing cheap energy. But they have one drawback - inconsistent production. "And with this inconsistency, unpredictability, they create problems for the operators of the electricity transmission and distribution networks," the ESO director was categorical. In order for these non-permanent sources of energy to develop, basic energy capacities are needed, Tsachev is categorical.

According to Tsachev, energy from renewable energy sources should be utilized as well as possible. This is also one of the challenges of green technologies - their effective use. To support this process, the connectivity of energy networks is now being improved across Europe. ESO is also involved in a number of regional projects that will improve connectivity and electricity transmission. With the implementation of such type of projects, it will be possible to transfer large amounts of green energy from South-Eastern Europe to the North-Western part of the continent. In this role, Tsachev also sees the Trans-Balkan Electric Transmission Energy Corridor project. With such a corridor, it will be possible even for cheap solar energy from Egypt to reach Greece and from there through Bulgaria to Central Europe.

With such an energy corridor, huge amounts of green energy can be transported from southern Europe to the northern part of the continent.

The second approach with RES plants is to convert their production into green hydrogen. The two approaches can develop in parallel, Tsachev believes. In this way, a secure, sustainable and balanced energy system can be achieved.

Photovoltaics to have remote control

In order not to create problems in the management of the energy system, photovoltaics must have remote control systems. This can allow the power system manager to determine when a plant should be switched on and off the grid. This was explained by Karel Kral, executive director of the company "Electrohold". The company is responsible for the supply of electricity to the whole of Western Bulgaria and serves a territory with over 2 million electricity meters.

"Everyone talks about green production, but our goal is green consumption, green energy," Kral explained. Specifically for the low and medium voltage network in western Bulgaria, requests for new renewable energy sources have jumped tremendously in the last year. From requests for allocation of 300-400 MW, there have now been more than 11,000 MW. applications. This is a very big problem for us, Kral explained. And the reason is that, by law, the company must give its opinion on joining the plants within two weeks. This opinion does not satisfy investors, because in most cases the network does not have free capacity for similar RES parks. We remind you that the capacity of the energy system of the entire country is 10,500 MWh.

For this reason, "Electrohold" offers the given candidate-investor to invest serious sums for the development of the electricity grid, so that his fleet can be connected. This often turns investors away from such projects, it became clear from Kral's words. At the moment, most small RES plants in our country are located in places where there is no consumption during the day and the energy from them must be transferred to the big cities. During peak hours, these parks are idle, meaning that power for consumers must come from elsewhere.

With regard to requests for RES plants, Electrohold's proposal is jointly with ESO to collect all requests and decide in a given region how to develop the low and medium voltage network. There are such examples in Western Europe, and investments are distributed between network operators and investors. This can also be applied in Bulgaria, because at the moment the pressure on the distribution operators is enormous, Kral was categorical. He urged us to take advantage of the experience of Western countries in this direction.

The event is organized by and 3E-news in partnership with Electrohold, Euroins, Eurohold, ProCredit Bank, Visa, Glavbolgarstroy Holding, Enery, Geotechmin, GCR, UBB, Artex Engineering AD, Telelink Business Services, TotalEnergy EP Bulgaria, Compass Cargo Airlines, Devnya Cement AD with ANRAV project, UniCredit Bulbank, MET Energy Trading Bulgaria, Dundee Precious Metals, FLAG Fund, European Investment Bank, Platform Brown to Green, TPP "Bobov Dol", Energeo, Bulgarian Development Bank, Electricity System Operator, Bulgartransgaz, Kärcher, ENplus®, Bulatom - Association, Solvay Sodi AD, "Big Data for the Benefit of the Intelligent Society" Institute (GATE), DEVIN, Bulgarian Federation of Industrial Energy Consumers (BFIEC), Kaufland.

Green Week 2023 is implemented with the media support of BNT, BTA, BNR, bTV Media Group, Darik Radio,,, Euronews.



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