The united power grid of Ukraine today can accept up to 3 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity of solar power plants and wind farms without an unbalanced response risk and serious changes to its structure, Ukrenergo Head Vsevolod Kovalchuk said at a roundtable in the Verkhovna Rada. According to him, this installed capacity of renewable energy facilities can be put into operation in December 2019. At the same time, the volume of the technical conditions already issued for the connection of new renewable energy capacities to the power grid amounts to 7,426 MW (4,200 MW for wind farms and 3,226 MW for solar power plants).
Kovalchuk said that if these capacities are introduced, it will be necessary to reduce the base of the nuclear power plants (NPPs) by 5,750 MW and increase the base of the thermal power plants (TPPs) by 2,800 MW. At the same time, this is contrary to the policy of decarbonization, and the “green” electricity is times more expensive than the nuclear generated one.
“This will lead to a need for a proportional reduction in the basic capacity of NPPs and an increase in generation at TPPs to ensure the required reserves. This contradicts the world and national policy of energy decarbonization, and the risks of energy dependence are increasing,” Kovalchuk said.
Thus, to increase the share of renewable energy in the balance of energy the power-speed mobile reserve (natural gas-fired stations, pumped storage) with a capacity of up to 3,000 MW must be put into operation. This will increase the basic load of nuclear power plants and reduce the load of thermal power plants. The demand regulation system and introduction of the auxiliary services market will also help to balance the energy system at the initial stage of going “green”.
According to the head of Ukrenergo, math critical power values for solar power plants and wind farms, which can be introduced without risk of unbalancing Ukraine’s power grid, are being completed. “We have a little more than a year before the turning point left. The decision how to develop power in Ukraine, if the “green light” for the further development of generation from renewable energy is given, should be taken today at both the national level and the level of all energy companies,” Kovalchuk said.