Electricity

Bulgarian state-owned firm to develop battery energy storage network

Bulgarian state-owned firm to develop battery energy storage network

Photo: Alexandra_Koch / Pixabay

Published

March 15, 2022

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Published:

March 15, 2022

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The Restore project in Bulgaria for battery energy storage, intended for balancing electricity from renewable sources, will total 6 GWh. A state-owned company, which should be established by the end of June, will run the entire project, while the first tenders should be completed by the end of September.

The Bulgarian government’s project to build a national energy storage network is worth EUR 798 million. It is included in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP).

According to announcements, a state-owned company would be established before the end of June. The first public tenders for the procurement and installation of batteries with a charging capacity of 6 GWh (gigawatt-hours) should be conducted by the end of September.

The first energy storage plants, with a third of the total envisaged capacity of the energy park, should become operational by the end of 2024. It will be leased for storing energy from renewable sources, which will also contribute to balancing energy from renewable sources.

The Restore project will allow the battery system network operator to be financed from battery usage fees with no need for additional subsidies

The Restore project will allow the battery system network operator to be financed from usage fees, the Bulgarian government said. There will be no need for additional subsidies, Mediapool.bg reported.

According to the project presentation, network charges for stored energy should also be regulated to avoid double payment of the transmission price. The Bulgarian government said the service itself should be as cheap as possible.

Grid connection points

The Ministry of Energy should determine the most suitable locations for connecting batteries to the state-controlled power transmission network and private electricity distribution systems. The sites should be suitable for connecting renewable energy projects. Their output surplus will be stored in the batteries and participate in balancing, flexibility, and provision of ancillary network services.

Sites for the battery units must be suitable for connection to green energy projects

When the first 2 GWh is completed, the plan shows, the energy park operator should open the available capacity for the market. The battery plants will be able to store energy surplus from renewable sources and be open to other market participants.

It is highly ambitious to expect the upcoming tenders for the procurement, installation, and commissioning of storage facilities and the maintenance and disposal of batteries to be completed by the end of September due to possible appeals against the decisions.

Waiting for the European Commission’s green light

The Ministry of Finance announced the project. After postponing the decision twice, the European Commission is due to approve Bulgaria’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan.

Restore is necessary because renewable energy producers cannot currently participate in balancing the electricity system, in covering network loads, flexibility, and associated network services, according to project documentation.

Renewable energy producers cannot currently participate in the balancing of the electricity system

The Bulgarian government said that the project contributes to electricity supply security in the transition period. The energy storage network will also play a role in the complex implementation of the smart grid concept and provide a high degree of visibility, accuracy of operational planning, maneuverability, rapid operation of the electricity system, and prevention and emergency management.

Battery factory announced

The idea for building a battery factory for energy storage was presented in February by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Asen Vassilev. The plant would be part of the national energy storage network, and the intention is to produce batteries instead of importing them.

The government intends to find private investors to build the factory near Stara Zagora, which sparked a dispute between the ruling party and the opposition. However, Bulgarian authorities say all major battery manufacturers have already been invited.

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