This week Elering, in cooperation with the Danish research company Ea Energianalyse a/s Denmark, began an analysis to determine the opportunities for linking the production capacity of wind energy into the grid in the Estonian power system.
The analysis, which should be completed by May 2010, should answer questions about the technical limitations of the network in installing wind power capacity, and about which investments can increase the opportunities defined by the technical limitations, taking into account the current and potential production capacity and links in the region. In the course of the analysis an electricity consumption and production model of the Baltic Sea region electricity systems is being created, which is helping in analysis of the operation of the electricity system when the wind farms are connected. "Elering’s interest is in creating opportunities for as many producers as possible to enter the electricity market, but at the same time the guaranteed operation of a fail-safe power system sets clear limits for the use of wind energy in Estonia,” said Elering CEO Taavi Veskimägi. “Today’s situation, where the developers of wind farms have filed connection applications for almost 4000 megawatts, and this, at a time when peak electricity consumption in Estonia is approximately 1500 megawatts and minimum consumption in the summertime is approximately 400, is not realistic. It does not make much sense for us to continue processing unrealistic connection applications from producers, if the network development costs for Elering are in certain situations several times higher than the planned investments in the production equipment.” Veskimägi believes data is required on how much wind energy capacity can possibly be connected into the power system, and after that the opportunity can be given to the producers to proceed quickly with developments, as they can assess the production capacities more realistically. “Everyone understands the existence of technical limitations, we need to find solid ground based on reliable methods for further activities,” he stressed. According to Veskimägi, clarity in the level of production capacity will create comprehensibility in the development of the power system, providing the necessary security and a predictability of production loads for investors. Consumers will also know what costs they will have to bear in creating opportunities for new connections for producers of wind energy. “Denmark unquestionably has the best experience in using wind energy. That is why together with the Danes we hope to achieve a respectable analysis of the results using the models, as this can provide a good basis for future work for Elering as a transmission grid operator as well as for wind energy developers,” he said. In order to achieve wider consensus and make the entire process more transparent, in May Elering will present the conclusions of the research at a public debate. “In an open electricity market it is important that the market participants have equal opportunities to access the information they need in order to make investment decisions,” stressed Veskimägi.