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Innovative mobile technology increases RES penetration in Southeastern Europe

A new mobile power flow control solution has been installed on the Bulgarian transmission system to increase the amount of renewable energy that electricity grids can accommodate and unlock cross-border electricity flows.

The technology was deployed as a joint project between the Bulgarian Transmission System Operator (TSO), Electricity System Operator (ESO) and global power technology company, Smart Wires, as part of FLEXITRANSTORE – a European Union Horizon 2020 consortium.

The mobile power flow control solution was installed in North-East Bulgaria where 750 megawatts (MW) of wind generation is installed allowing the TSO to control power flows on the grid. The installation in Bulgaria took only two and a half days.

“This project allows us to capture excess capacity on our grid to increase renewable penetration, reduce constraints and improve cross-border flows between Bulgaria and Romania,” said Dimitar Zarchev, ESO’s National Dispatching Center Director.

“Using innovative tools like this, we can greatly enhance the network’s capacity, flexibility and ultimately accelerate this region’s decarbonisation efforts,” Mr Zarchev underlined adding that Smart Wires’ mobile technology can be delivered in months, installed in hours and reused at multiple different locations.

“Power flow control is not new, but this innovative mobile deployment method provides the industry with an incredibly flexible and high-impact solution, which ultimately delivers a faster, lower cost and better way to plan and operate power systems,” concluded ESO’s National Dispatching Center Director.

Mark Norton, Smart Wires’ Vice President of European Business Development highlighted that the project showcases true innovation – redeploying large scale grid infrastructure seamlessly from one grid to another to solve multiple problems.

The equipment was first deployed in Greece in 2019 to reduce renewable congestion as a joint project with the Greek Independent Power Transmission Operator.

“We’re proud to partner with the Flexitranstore consortium to ensure these types of tools can be adopted across Europe,” underlined Mr Norton.

The goal is to introduce flexibility to the European power system and to achieve this FLEXITRANSTORE plans to develop a next-generation Flexible Energy Grid (FEG). The project takes both a national and a regional approach, acknowledging the need to seamlessly integrate national markets, particularly in the Southeastern European network, which still lacks the high interconnectivity that the rest of the European network has.

In March, Slovenia’s Transmission System Operator, ELES signed a joint agreement with Smart Wires to unlock the full capacity of transmission grids.

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