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Eles’ event on the role of smart grids within the scope of Slovenia's Energy Concept (SEC)

The Eles’ event highlighted the importance of the role of smart grids within the scope of Slovenia's Energy Concept.

Since Slovenia's Energy Concept is without a doubt the most long-awaited document in the Slovenian energy sector, we want that the compass of the Slovenian energy sector would be handled responsibly, prudently and wisely. ELES transfers energy and preserves balance. Our responsibility determines our mission, within the scope of which we want every stakeholder to be heard, every expert to be considered and that our decisions are adopted with responsibility and with regard to benefits. 

The smart grid event in the energy sector started with the address by the Eles Strategic Innovation Director, mag. Uroš Salobir, who presented the well-known project SINCRO.GRID. The story of this project starts with decentralisation and has many dimensions. This project is very important for ELES especially from two aspects: a very significant increase of the share of renewable energy sources and the change of the role of consumers from passive observers to active participants in the electric power system. Decentralisation as such has many impacts on the electric power system, and the changes in flows that are becoming more and more unpredictable, are also very important. System power plants face a decline in operation, but we will need more ancillary services. Our long-term goal is undisturbed supply with electricity along with an increasing share of RES. Project partners are searching for innovative solutions to eliminate limitations (the flexibility of reactive power, thermal capacity of overhead power lines and the flexibility of working power) on the path to this important goal.  

The Director and Editor in Chief of the Finance newspaper, Mr Peter Frankl, had an interview with the CEO of ELES, mag. Aleksander Mervar

At the round table discussion, various speakers presented their views of the ECS. As was emphasised by ELES CEO, mag. Aleksander Mervar, ELES is aware of the fact that smart grids projects are applicative projects that have cross-border effects. He is also aware of the great risks that are involved. Because in 2012, the company already set the course for this project, they are well aware of what awaits for them, so they will be ready in 2030. Mr Mervar believes that they are at a breaking point, when this will have to be done also in distribution. According to Mervar the development of technologies is quite intense and is still in progress, therefore, we must be prepared and overrunning others does not make any sense. In Mr Mervar's opinion, smart grids are sufficiently included in the ECS and the National Development Energy Plan, which will be the next important document, will have to further determine this area. 

As Prof. Dr. Igor Papič, professor at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and the president of the Slovenian national Smart Grid Platform, said the projects started right at this platform. At the start, the members of the platform convinced others in the needs for demonstration projects, today, the energy sector stipulates shat has to be done, and the members are quite pleased by this fact. He emphasised that new projects will evolve, but they have to be economically justified. The Slovenian industry must also be integrated in this story. 

The CEO of SODO, mag. Matjaž Vodušek, said that the current documents all contain the bases for a uniform smart grid concept in Slovenia. Important questions involve the management of grids from the technological aspect and the management of grids by consumers. To implement quality management we have to manage data. Therefore, optimisation is the major added value of these grids. 

The Chairman of the Management Board of GEN-I, Dr. Robert Golob, emphasised that the existing system works on stability, smart grids bring more minor consumers. We are on the verge of energy revolution and it is only a matter of time when the avalanche will be triggered. He warned about the lack of awareness of distribution and what the consumer wants. In his opinion, consumers are quite informed and they will consequently want to manage their own energy sources, which will cause a disturbance in the electric power system due to active consumption. 

The Head of the Energy Efficiency Centre at Jožef Štefan Institute, Dr. Stane Merše, said that we are making progress in the use of smart meters in Slovenia, but we still lack something when compared to abroad. The users will know what they need, when they need it and in what way they need it. 

As mag. Uroš Salobir emphasised, the SINCRO.GRID is not the only smart grid project to which Eles dedicates a lot of attention. ELES is quite selective at making choices. It is impossible to envisage innovation in advance, and business models play quite an important role in similar projects. 

Jurij Klančnik, the Transmission System Operation Director, said that the basis for a reliable operation comprises a good surveillance system that enables a comprehensive overview of the electric power system, connected smart meters and telecommunication network that enables the transfer of data from this system as well as an appropriate amount of ancillary services. "Eles plays a proactive role in providing ancillary services, because it is integrated in the ancillary services market with other system operators. In the field of tertiary reserves we successfully signed agreements on sharing the reserve within Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia, as well as an agreement on sharing the reserve with the neighbouring operator TERNO, which enables us to buy less tertiary reserve in Slovenia, i.e. 250 MW instead of 550 MW. With regard to secondary reserves, we have implemented the INC compensation system and are in the process of transferring to the pan-European IGCC compesnation model," said Klančnik.  He also announced that they are already including users and grid consumers in tertiary reserves within the scope of the DSM service, already offering 20 MW of tertiary reserve. Within development (FutureFlow) and implementation projects (PICASSA) they are working in the direction of including consumers in the secondary regulation system. In the future, passive consumers will be transformed into active consumers who will collaborate in offering suitable ancillary services.

The Transmission Network Infrastructure Director and the President of the Slovenian CIGRÉ-CIRED association, mag. Marko Hrast also described the most current topics that are tackled on the international level. He also emphasised that it is very important to forward the parallel development of the electric power system in all elements, that the same shares of funds are invested in all system segments, otherwise, the electric power system could become unstable. 

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