© ICIS HEREN - Bulgarian TSO restricts power production to balance system

Bulgarian electricity transmission system operator (TSO) ESO has restricted production from all types of power plant in the country in order to manage its balancing of the system, the company said on Thursday (4th April).
Under the restriction, the 2GW Kozloduy nuclear power plant is allowed to run at only about half of its capacity. Its units 5 and 6 have been restricted to 750MW and 500MW respectively, operator Kozloduy said on Thursday. The plant`s units 1-4 have already been decommissioned.
Cogeneration power plants were also asked to keep production to a minimum.
The measures were imposed because of continuing low electricity demand in the country, reduced power exports and increased hydro, wind and solar generation.
The immediate impact on prices in neighbouring markets is likely to be limited, regional traders said when interviewed on Thursday. There is good supply from hydro generation in the region and Bulgaria is used only as a transit market, they said.
This is the second time the grid operator has imposed production restrictions. On the first occasion, last month, only coal-fired plants were affected (see EDEM 4 March 2013).
At 10:00 local time, Bulgaria`s system load stood at 4.3GW, while exports amounted to only 250MW, according to ESO data. "The measures are temporary and will be imposed only when necessary," the TSO said.
Distribution companies EVN Bulgaria and CEZ Bulgaria issued statements saying they had switched off some of the renewable power plants connected to their systems for certain hours on Thursday.
The Bulgarian Photovoltaic Association (BPVA) has sent a letter to all relevant authorities protesting against the restrictions.
In an official statement on Thursday, BPVA said it is unfair to blame renewable-energy producers for the imbalances in the system and that the restriction of renewable production is against EU directives giving renewable-energy generators priority access to the grid.
Last week, Bulgaria`s interim energy minister, Asen Vasilev, said 40% of wind and solar producers had failed to provide the grid operator with real-time production data, making it very difficult to manage the electricity system. As a result, he said, they were to be denied temporary grid access (see EDEM 26 March 2013).
(THE ICIS HEREN REPORTS - EDEM 17065 / 4 April 2013)

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