RES electricity generation increase has changed the generation structure in the power system of Ukraine. In March 2020comparing to March 2019, wind and solar power plants (WPP and SPP) generation has doubled – up to 863 million kW•h. According to March results, WPP and SPP generation is 37% of TPP generation and 11% of NPP generation. This tendency is being strengthened by the consumption reduction caused by the season warming and quarantine.
According to the 2020 totals comparing to 2019 totals, the forecast for RES generation is double increase – up to 10.284 billion kW•h. This volume will amount to 12.8% of NPP generation and up to 24.4% of TPP generation.
Balancing and RES restriction
The state has committed itself to buy out all the energy generated by RES notwithstanding the consumption demand. It also has released RES of the responsibility for imbalances and guaranteed them full compensation for the loss of profit in case of restrictions. These circumstances and the feed-in tariff stimulate RES producers to generate as much energy as possible. As a result, RES generation is always present in the generation structure with maximum possible capacity level notwithstanding the fluctuations in power consumption.
In these circumstances, WPP and SPP generations, regarding their low predictability, create significant risks of imbalance in the power system. Balance violations are regulated by the activation of TPP and HPP offer applications in the balancing market segment. When the deviations that cause power surplus last during significant part of the day and in order to provide balancing the offers for unloading in the balancing market are insufficient, dispatchers have to give operational safety orders aimed at reducing TPP, HPP, and basic NPP capacities.
If imbalances last for one-two hours, and all other regulation tools have been used, there grounds for RES generation restrictions. Alongside, the RES peak loading (maximum generation capacity) has doubled today. If in March 2019 it amounted at average to 1.5 GW, in March 2020 in certain hours it was over 4 GW. Alongside, the power surplus in the power system due to low consumption and actions of other market participants in certain hours was reaching 5 GW.
From November 2019 to February 2020 (three months) RES restrictions were applied three times. Solely in March 2020,WPPs and SPPs were restricted four times. Alongside, daily power consumption at the beginning of March reduced from over 400 million kW•h to 395 million kW•h.
In the first five days of April 2020, RES restrictions were applied almost on a daily basis, the duration and amount increased as well. The biggest restriction took place on 5 April – the day when the general consumption level reached the lowest point from the beginning of the year – 344.2 million kW•h. RES restrictions amounted to 1656.7 МW and were applied from 10:41 a.m. to 17:00 p.m., that is in the middle of the day, when the consumption decreases comparing to morning and evening peak hours, and on the contrary, RES generation is the highest due to the peak solar activity.
By the end of the year, the volumes of restriction will have increased due to power consumption reduction (natural seasonal factors, consequences of the quarantine and lowering of economic activity), as well as due to rapid growth of RES capacity with increased amounts of RES power production. It may amount in total to 1 billion kW•h. Consumers will also have to pay for this power.
RES integration in the IPS of Ukraine
Solely in 2019, WPP and SPP installed capacity increased 2.7 times and reached 4.7 GW. At the beginning of April 2020, it increased to 5.2 GW, and this volume is larger than the volume the power system of Ukraine can take without serious deviations in its operation. The IPS of Ukraine is capable of maximum take of not more than 4.7 GW of WPP installed capacity, and for Saturday and Sunday and holidays, the maximum amount reduces to 3.5 GW. Both indicators may reduce depending on fluctuations in the power consumption, which, in its turn, depends on the air temperature and the activity of consumers – large enterprises.
By the end of 2020, RES installed capacity may increase 1.5 times – up to 7.4 GW.
Rapid growth of RES amounts requires immediate measures to be taken for increasing the flexibility of the power system.
In the Report on the estimation of sufficiency (adequacy) of generating capacities, NPC Ukrenergo provides the following recommendations:
- To introduce commitments for investors in RES to ensure for their power stations the construction of high maneuvering generation or Energy Storage of about 20% of the installed project capacity of RES power plant.
- As soon as possible, to introduce RES responsibility for imbalances
- To construct in 2021 2 GW of new maneuvering capacity with quick launch and energy storages of 2 GW capacity.
- The volumes of annual support quotas for business entities, which produce energy from alternative energy sources shall not exceed the capacity of the IPS of Ukraine to fully integrate them without limitations of power output.