Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sun only produces 1.1 % of Slovak electricity but causes many disputes

According to Ministry of Economy last year solar power plants produced 310 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of electric energy. This represents 1.1 % of total electricity production in Slovakia. The total solar installed capacity is 512 MW. 

In the summer Ministry of Economy published annual report on monitoring of security of electricity supplies. It noted that in 2011 Slovakia was “self-sufficient in electricity production, as it was possible to cover the statistical difference between consumption and production also with power sources on the territory of SR, but electricity import was more market efficient than its production from sources in Slovakia”.

Photovoltaics recorded the highest increase in electricity production.

“Although the annual share of production in solar power plants is relatively small, in the summer period the contribution of solar energy production is not negligible in covering the load,” the report says. The maximum immediate capacity of solar plants reached in the summer was around 300 MW.

During the summer load of 2500 MW it is around 12 %. “However, due to dependence on sunshine the solar energy sources create further demands on securing of reserve capacity,” ministry remarked. Important feature therefore is accurate prediction of production according to weather conditions. Cloudiness might activate reserve capacity of other technologies. The ministry added that with regard to renewables development “communication connection with control centers of regional distribution systems to monitor the solar production in real time”.

Disputes: Impact or changes in FITs 

The operator of electricity transmission system SEPS considers solar and wind power plants as unstable sources with large production fluctuation. It argues that uncontrolled construction might endanger operating security and reliability of the transmission system and kick-start unsustainable and unpredictable pressure on rise of prices for final consumers or on state budget. 

SEPS prepared an analysis on impact of renewable sources on the transmission system. However, they did not publish the results yet. The requests for information by Slovak association of photovoltaic industry (SAPI) have been denied so far by referring to law on critical infrastructure and protection of sensitive information. 

SAPI also protests against decrease of feed-in tariff´s rate since July 1, 2012. From this date the rate fell from € 194 per megawatt hour to € 119,54/MWh. The PV industry claims the decrease means liquidation for them and risks hundreds of jobs. Therefore they filed a complaint at General Prosecution of the SR against regulatory office (URSO) for unexpected changes. 

According to SAPI the step contradicts Slovak and European legislation. “Frequent change in electricity prices also violates the principle of legitimate expectations as one of the basic EU law principles,” international law firm NH Hager Niederhuber backed up their claim. 

Few days ago the General Prosecution prolonged the deadline for adopting a decision in this case without giving any specific date.

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