Serbia’s electricity system can operate with up to 5,800 MW of solar

by Cristian Florescu

According to Nebojša Petrović, advisor to the CEO of Elektromreža Srbije (EMS), the electricity system in Serbia does not currently have the capacity to accommodate solar power plants and wind farms totalling 5,800 MW, unless additional investments in production capacities for secondary and tertiary frequency regulation are made. This statement was made at the Energy 2023 conference on Mt. Zlatibor, organized by the domestic Energy Experts Association.

The estimated capacity of 5,800 MW is based on an adequacy analysis conducted by EMS, which takes into account 400 MW of operational wind parks. After deducting the 717 MW from planned facilities selected at the first auctions, it is possible to incorporate an additional 4,683 MW of solar and wind power capacity into the system.

However, EMS received applications for approximately 19,900 MW by the end of May, which then increased to 21,965.2 MW by mid-September. It is worth mentioning that these projects are currently in different stages of development, with the majority being in the initial phases.

Petrović states that the adequacy analysis was conducted using a probabilistic approach, as mandated by the European Union’s System Operation Guideline (SOGL). In the Continental Europe synchronous area, it is necessary to calculate the regulation (balance) reserve when the power system has a significant presence of variable renewable energy sources.

After carefully considering all the factors, Petrović stated that, based on the current regulatory capacities, Serbia’s electricity system has the capability to accommodate 5,800 MW from wind parks and solar power plants, along with the inclusion of the pumped storage hydropower plant Bajina Bašta.

The analysis was carried out as part of Serbia’s ten-year transmission system development plan for 2023-2032, in accordance with the requirement set by the Law on the Use of Renewable Energy Sources, which was passed in late April.

The plan has been respectfully submitted to the Energy Agency of the Republic of Serbia (AERS) for their kind consideration and approval.

Petrović participated in a panel discussion on the development of modern energy infrastructure in relation to energy storage requirements. Nikola Rajaković, president of the Energy Experts Association, kindly moderated the conversation. The esteemed participants included Maja Turković, Executive Vice President of CWP Europe, Dejan Stojčevski, Chief Operating Officer of the domestic electricity exchange SEEPEX, Dejan Ostojić, a member of the Supervisory Board of the state-owned coal and power producer Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS), and Željko Marković, an expert in the energy field.

According to Petrović, EMS has received requests for the connection of power plants with a capacity of 4,500 MW in accordance with the previous Law on Energy, up until April 2021. In contrast, only 1,000 MW of applications were sent to the distribution system operator Elektrodistribucija Srbije (EDS).

Together, it approximately signifies the capacity derived from the adequacy analysis, as he further elucidated that a substantial portion comprises advanced projects.

Petrović emphasized that the remaining applicants are eagerly anticipating the adoption of a new regulation regarding the conditions of electricity delivery and supply.

According to his statement, the analysis indicates that there are no obstacles in terms of grid stability for the construction and connection of all power plants that have submitted connection applications in accordance with the previous Energy Law.

He mentioned that the Law on the Use of Renewable Energy Sources allows developers to prevent any delays in grid connection for wind or solar power projects by offering supplementary secondary reserve capacity as an auxiliary service.

The capacity will be made available to the transmission system operator, EMS, for the purpose of providing system services such as secondary frequency regulation and capacity exchange.

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