Renewables

Serbia to add 400 MW in solar power plants, auctions starting by year-end

Serbia 400 MW in solar power auctions year-end

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April 14, 2021

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Published:

April 14, 2021

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Solar power plants with an installed capacity of 400 MW are in the pipeline in Serbia, while the first auctions for solar and wind could take place by the end of the year, according to the participants of the First Big Conference on Solar Energy in Serbia. Priority in the use of solar energy will be given to panels on the roofs of houses and residential buildings, company-owned structures and public buildings, as well as in abandoned coal mines, they said at a panel called ‘Utility-scale solar power plants in Serbia – a small step for humanity, a big step for Serbia’s energy transition.’

The First Big Conference on Solar Energy in Serbia, organized by Balkan Green Energy News, was held today in Belgrade. More than 1,000 people followed it online.

The proposed Law on Renewable Energy Sources and the amendments to the Law on Energy bring substantial changes in the development of renewable sources in Serbia, especially solar energy. The national parliament is set to vote on them tomorrow.

Panel moderator was Dragoljub Cibulić, a senior partner at the law office BDK Advokati.

Atanacković: We will do our best to hold the first auctions by the end of the year

“We will do everything to enable the first auctions to be held by the end of the year. The government is keen on including as many participants as possible and for the competition to be good, so that prices would be as low as possible,”” said Jovanka Atanacković, state secretary of the Ministry of Mining and Energy, adding that auctions for wind and solar would be separated.

When it comes to quotas for auctions, she said that they would be decided with regard to the goal to replace coal-fired thermal power plants with a combined capacity of 4.4 GW by 2050. Atanacković stressed it implies adding renewable energy facilities of 8 GW to 10 GW in total.

In order to replace 4.4 GW of coal capacity by mid-century, 8 GW to 10 GW of renewables is required

The position of the ministry is that solar energy deployment should be based on rooftop panels, where the potential is 4 GW to 6 GW, and abandoned mining sites, she said.

Serbia 400 MW in solar power auctions year-end-jovanka-atanackovic
Jovanka Atanacković, state secretary of the Ministry of Mining and Energy

In addition to auctions, Serbia will use the possibility of establishing strategic partnerships through tendering as a model to achieve green energy goals. Such competitions could be announced for PV panels on roofs on public buildings and on state land as well as for joint projects with state-owned companies.

Both households and businesses will be able to become prosumers

Atanacković stressed households and businesses will get the opportunity to become prosumers or to generate electricity for own consumption. The balance between the energy consumed from the system and the amount delivered to the grid will be more favorable for citizens, while the new framework will make it easier for companies to become prosumers.

EMS is preparing its network for the integration of renewables

As for new power plants on renewable sources, Marko Janković, head of the Directorate for the Electricity Market at Serbia’s transmission system operator Elektromreža Srbije (EMS) revealed that the company received requests to connect 4.5 GW, of which 400 MW is in solar facilities.

It is little in comparison to wind, but also a lot with regard to the fact that Serbia only has 10 MW in installed in solar. Janković asserted the applications sent to EMS are a signal for it to develop its network. “We are following what is going on and changing our development plans to secure conditions for those power plants to be connected,” he added.

Janković pointed out the new energy legislation is a necessary step to continue to liberalize the power market.

Maja Turković: Essence of new laws is in market integration

Serbia 400 MW in solar power auctions year-end-maja-turkovic
CWP Global’s Vice President for Serbia Maja Turković

CWP Global’s Vice President for Serbia Maja Turković stressed the upcoming Law on Renewable Energy Sources and changes to the Law on Energy would be the first step toward the acceleration of renewable energy development.

“However, the essence of the new changes isn’t in auctions or state incentives but in the market. The entire output from renewables will have to be integrated in the market,” she said.

In the case of solar, in her words, obtaining land rights is very important, which makes the technology different from other kinds of green energy, so legislation that regulates agricultural land and zoning and construction must also be changed to create conditions for investment.

Al Pack is building the largest rooftop solar power plant in Serbia

Company Al Pack didn’t wait for new regulations. It already began installing a 1.1 MW rooftop photovoltaic plant and it will be the largest system of the kind in Serbia. The firm’s co-owner Nemanja Mikać said the facility would have been bigger without regulatory constraints and if the roof was bigger.

Combining solar and wind with storage can result in the cheapest electricity in the market

“We have been developing solutions for energy storage for the last two years. The first idea is to connect energy storage and solar, which improves planning, secures balancing and reduces investment risk. We want to introduce the idea of linking of solar and storage in Serbia. The ultimate goal is to develop a system that integrates batteries, solar power plants and wind parks and results in the cheapest energy in the market,” he underscored.

Storing energy could, in Mikać’s view, lower the capacity that Serbia needs to install to replace 4.4 GW from coal, currently estimated at 8 GW to 10 GW. He claimed that 1 GW to 2 GW less than that would be required.

Serbia 400 MW in solar power auctions year-end-nemanja-mikac
Al Pack’s co-owner Nemanja Mikać

Final prices on auctions depend on bylaws

According to Regional Head for Energy for the Western Balkans and Croatia in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Francesco Corbo, the important job for all market participants after passing the law is to produce bylaws.

“The laws are a machine for change, but it is the bylaws that will get it going, so we have to consider them carefully,” he asserted and added that the rules are significant for the prices that would be achieved in auctions.

The organized market is key for renewables integration and Serbia already offers the possibility to renewable energy producers to sell it in the market, SEEPEX power exchange’s Operations Director Dejan Stojčevski pointed out.

SEEPEX will establish an intraday market within 12 months

Still, he stressed, everything will become easier for them with the establishment of an intraday market, which will be enabled with the new laws.

“We will get the regulatory framework by the end of summer, and by year-end we will be able to initiate the integration of our organized market with those in neighboring countries of the EU. We will do our part to the fullest and then we will see how they will respond,” he stated.

It will take SEEPEX six to 12 months to establish an intraday market, he said and expressed hope it can be done before the first power plant that wins a premium at an auction is completed.

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