Renewables

New rules for grid connection for solar, wind projects in Serbia

New rules for grid connection for solar, wind projects in Serbia

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Published

October 3, 2023

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Published:

October 3, 2023

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Serbia has amended the decree on conditions for electricity delivery and supply, modifying the procedure for connecting new power plants to the transmission and distribution grids, including solar power plants and wind farms.

The new rules will also affect more than 100 existing applications for the connection of solar and wind projects to the transmission system.

The regulation concerns the pending procedures for signing contracts with developers to prepare so-called studies for the connection to the transmission or distribution grid.

There are 105 pending grid connection requests with no study contract

The changes, adopted by the Government of Serbia on September 28, are expected to be published in the Official Gazette shortly and enter into force eight days later.

Serbia’s transmission system operator Elektromreža Srbije (EMS) has officially received 142 requests for wind and solar projects so far. Four facilities are already in operation, while connection study contracts have been signed for 33, with 105 pending.

Excluding the power plants in operation, the overall capacity is 22,000 MW. EMS recently said that without additional investments, the electricity system in Serbia could only withhold solar power plants and wind farms with a combined capacity of 5,800 MW.

Application deadline for connection study contracts is December 1

According to the decree, a study for connection to the transmission system is prepared at the request of the investor after the contract signature.

The request is submitted no later than the first day of the month preceding the first month of the term in which EMS prepares connection studies. The new rule stipulates that the TSO has two such terms every year – from March 1 to June 30 and from September 1 to December 31.

Strategic partners are exempt as their requests are processed in line with the Law on the Use of Renewable Energy Sources. Of note, Serbia is in the process of selecting its first strategic partner in the sector.

The first term will be slightly different, as will the deadlines.

Transitional provisions envisage that the first term starts on December 20, 2023, and ends on April 20, 2024. The deadline for submitting requests is December 1. After April 20, 2024 regular intervals and deadlines will apply.

Developers must deposit at least EUR 50,000 per project

Applicants for connection study contracts are required to deposit EUR 50,000 per project. The rule applies to electricity generation units, consumers, and electricity storage systems with a capacity lower than or equal to 50 MW.

The amount is increased by EUR 400 for every additional megawatt from 51 MW to 100 MW, by EUR 300 per megawatt from 101MW  to 250 MW, and by EUR 200 for each megawatt above 250 MW.

A connection study ceases to be valid if:

  • the investor doesn’t submit a bank guarantee within 60 days from the date of receiving the study;
  • a connection agreement is not signed within 60 days from the date when the investor submits the bank guarantee;
  • the investor doesn’t receive a connection approval within three years from the date of the conclusion of a connection contract;
  • the connection approval expires.

If the connection study is not valid, the connection contract is terminated. A connection approval’s validity period is three years, but it can be extended at the request of the investor by no more than two years.

Bank guarantee of EUR 25,000 per MW

Investors are obliged to submit a bank guarantee in favor of EMS within 60 days of receiving the connection study. The amount is EUR 25,000 per MW of the capacity defined in the connection study, according to the decree.

The bank guarantee, with a validity period of 37 months, must be issued by a commercial bank registered and operating under Serbian laws.

The introduction of the guarantee is aimed at ensuring that the developer will, among other things:

  • conclude a connection contract within 60 days from the date of submitting the bank guarantee;
  • obtain connection approval within three years from the date of signing of a connection contract;
  • build the facility within the validity period of the connection approval.
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