The news portal 3e-news publishes an overview of the Plan for development of the transmission electricity network of Bulgaria for the period 2020 – 2029. The plan prepared by the Electricity System Operator (ESO) was submitted for public discussion.
The total value of the investment program is BGN 1 billion 420 million BGN. For the current 2020 it amounts to 203.2 million BGN.
For the first time, the report draws attention to the impact of Turkey’s electricity system on the electricity flows in the region. The positive influence of the market coupling initiative is taken into account, outlining their expected impact in the upcoming years. The development of renewable sources is also foreseen. It is noted that with an agreement for Belene NPP, the project will lead to positive impact on the development of the entire electricity system of Bulgaria.
The authors of the report indicate that as a result of the implemented energy efficiency policies (renovation, energy saving appliances and efficient production, etc.) and the introduction of new technologies many factors have emerged that affect electricity consumption in the country in different ways. This makes it very difficult to determine correlations forecast the future consumption till 2029. The forecast for the development of gross electricity consumption in the country is in line with the forecasts of the European Commission (EC) until 2050, the Agency for Sustainable Energy Development, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and the Ministry of Finance (in terms of gross domestic product). It is also in line with the emerging economic crisis in the short term following the COVID-19 pandemic. On this basis, the authors of the ESO’s plan set two main scenarios for the development of electricity consumption: maximum and minimum. Added to them is the scenario of the Ministry of Energy, set in the National Energy and Climate plan (NECP).
In the scenario set in the NECP gross electricity consumption without pumps is 300 to 600 GWh above the maximum forecast of ESO, as it starts from higher consumption for 2020, which implies an increase of 4% compared to the reduced consumption for 2019 against the background of the trend in the last three years for a slight decline. However, according to the ENTSO-E guidelines, this scenario should be taken into account as a basis for the development of national transmission network development plans. The maximum scenario for gross electricity consumption without pumps coincides with the trend of the reference one for final electricity consumption in the country for the period 2015–2025. It is envisaged electricity consumption to be increasing at a moderate pace. There is a delay in the implementation of energy efficiency measures. By 2029, gross consumption is expected to reach 40,800,000 MWh.
The minimum scenario envisages maintaining the level of electricity consumption for the entire period due to more intensive implementation of energy efficiency measures. In 2029, the gross electricity consumption reaches 37,550,000 MWh.
Renewable energy sources (RES)
The planned for commissioning facilities renewables, incl. according to the concluded preliminary and final contracts for connection of transmission and distribution network are 1465 MW for the period of the Plan, i.e. until 2029
According to ESO’s calculations, these are:
wind power – 673 MW,
photovoltaic – 659 MW,
HPP – 69 MW
Biomass power plants – 64 MW.
For comparison, the existing RES capacities at the end of 2019 are as follows:
HPP (without pumps) 2347 MW,
wind power plants – 700 MW
photovoltaic – 1059 MW
Biomass and biogas – 77 MW
The forecasted new capacities for production of electricity from thermal power plants (TPP) and from co-generation are 564 MW.
The plan of Bulgaria is to commission new nuclear capacities in the period 2030-2040, which is outside the scope of the current plan, but since the scale of these capacities is not decentralized as RES, their impact is significant on the development of transmission network and requires significant and lengthy feasibility studies and coordination procedures. For this reason, the current plan presents a concept for the connection of new nuclear facilities.
It is stated that in case of a positive decision for the construction of Belene NPP, the transmission operator has determined the necessary development of the electricity transmission network, as the connection of the reactors will be carried out at two voltage levels – 400kV and 110kV. The main connection of the units is to 400kV network, and the backup power supply for own needs is to 110kV network.
“The development of the country’s electricity transmission network due to the connection of Belene NPP will have a positive effect on increasing the security of operation of the entire electricity system of Bulgaria. The planned development of a 400kV network will practically double the 400kV ring between the northwestern and northeastern parts of the country. A double cross-link will be realized in the central part of the country from Tsarevets substation to Plovdiv substation, thanks to which the possibility for cross-border exchange of electricity in the north-south direction will increase. This cross-link will be useful even in case of a positive decision for the construction of Reactor 7 of Kozloduy NPP.
Influence of the electricity system of Turkey
The results of market calculations, made on the basis of the forecast of each system operator for the development of production and consumption of electricity, show significant differences compared to the previous regional plan. For the first time, the development of the plan takes into account the influence of the Turkish power system on the energy flows in the region. The forecasts of the Turkish operator are for a large growth of new generation capacities (over 140 GW installed capacity by 2040), with low electricity prices and the possibility of year-round exports. At the same time, the Bulgarian network does not envisage investments in new large-scale sources of electricity, available 24 hours a day, which do not emit greenhouse gases. This will increase the transit flows of electricity through our transmission network in the east-west direction and may make the Bulgarian-Turkish and Bulgarian-Serbian border bottlenecks that would restrict free trade. The transit of electricity through our country would become even greater, with the reduction of production from the generating capacities in the complex “Maritsa East”, the authors of the report note.
Transmission network and resilience
When developing the plan, it is taken into account that the 400kV transmission network is the backbone of the electricity transmission network in Bulgaria. The geographical location of the country implies in the future a great commercial interest in the transit of electricity through the electricity transmission network of the country. For safe operation of the electricity transmission network in order to ensure the necessary reliability of electricity transmission and stability of the generating sources, in the 400 kV network of the Republic of Bulgaria it is necessary to build the following new power lines: Santa “(Greece); – substation” Plovdiv “- substation” Maritsa East “; – substation” Maritsa East “- ORU TPP MI3; – substation” Maritsa East “- substation Burgas station – Burgas substation – Varna substation. The above 400kV power lines are recognized by the EC as projects of common interest within the meaning of Regulation (EU) No 347/2013.
The results of the analysis show that in the planned development of generating capacities and electricity consumption in the region, the construction of these power lines is economically and technically justified. ESO points out that it is working to increase the cross-border capacities for electricity exchange with the countries of Southeast Europe. In the Ten-Year Plan, ESO states that the results of the flow distribution show that no congestion of the transmission network elements is expected. There are no overloaded elements in the 400 kV network. With the 220 kV network, about 948 MW are exchanged in both directions, and the resulting value is 132 MW to 220 kV. The expected flow from 400 kV to 110 kV is 2421 MW.
The annual estimated values of all costs for construction, expansion, reconstruction and modernization of the elements of the electricity transmission network and of the systems for protection and management of the netwrok for the period 2020-2029 amount to 1 billion 420 million. BGN (1 420 252 thousand BGN), of which ––178 million or 12.54% are coming from European funds, mainly for co-financing of projects of pan-European importance. ESO plans to invest an average of 10% of the total investment for the period of the Plan in 2020-2022.
ESO’s ten-year development plan: https://www.dker.bg/uploads/_CGCalendar/2020/10_Year_Net_Dev_Plan_20-29.pdf