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Mobile Technology Increases Renewable Energy Penetration in Southeastern Europe

June 24, 2021
New mobile power flow control solution can significantly increase the amount of renewable energy electricity grids can accommodate and unlock cross-border electricity flows.

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

Installation of the technology was 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 northeast Bulgaria, where 750 MW of wind generation is installed. This rapid deployment method houses state-of-the-art technology that allows TSOs to control power flows on their grid. Installation in Bulgaria took two and a half days.

Announcing the successful deployment, Dimitar Zarchev, ESO's National Dispatching Center director, said: "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. ESO is proud to be a part of this work, which is vitally important to the Southeastern European network. Using innovative tools like this, we can greatly enhance the network's capacity and flexibility, and ultimately accelerate the region's decarbonization efforts.

"The value of Smart Wires' mobile technology is that it 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."

Mark Norton, Smart Wires' vice president of European Business Development, said: "With this work, ESO has demonstrated its commitment to its customers, to the energy transition, and to the type of leadership and innovation that the Horizon 2020 projects embody. Smart Wires has truly enjoyed the collaboration with the ESO team throughout the project.

"This project showcases true innovation — redeploying large-scale grid infrastructure seamlessly from one grid to another to solve multiple problems. This equipment was first deployed in Greece in 2019 to reduce renewable congestion as a joint project with the Greek Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO). ESO and IPTO have shown global leadership on this project, which has caught the imagination of operators from all over Europe, the United States, Australia, and Latin America. We're proud to partner with the FLEXITRANSTORE consortium to ensure these types of tools can be adopted across Europe."

FLEXITRANSTORE demonstrates a variety of novel smart grid technologies, control methods, energy storage, and new market approaches, which will be developed, installed, demonstrated, and tested, introducing flexibility to the European power system. FLEXITRANSTORE aims to transform the European power system through interventions that target the entire energy value chain. It will 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.

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