How do we deal with summer peaks? Changes after the crisis in 2015

Report

Will photovoltaics save us from the blackout? Summer peaks still remain a challenge, although over three years have passed, since the crisis in 2015 where the industrial consumers were faced with limitations in electricity supply. In October, Minister of Energy admitted that 2 GW of PV could help Poland to avoid blackout in the future. It has been known for many years. Forum Energii presents its assessment of changes that have been introduced to the energy system to avoid similar situations in the future.

What matters to electricity consumers is its price and reliability of supply. In recent months the price of electricity on the wholesale market in Poland has increased by 70%. Even if the correction of these increased prices is taken into account, it is hard to imagine a clearer signal that the time of cheap electricity
is coming to an end. Those whose electricity suppliers went bankrupt last summer learned about it the hard way. New contracts offered by reserve suppliers appear to be significantly more expensive, sometimes at
double or triple the cost.

Does the higher price mean more stability and reliability? The greatest challenge we face in Poland is to meet the peak demand in summer. We learned about it in August 2015 when PSE (transmission system operator) introduced the highest level of load curtailment, a temporary rationing of energy consumption by industrial customers of above 300 kW. In reaction to the situation, experts recommended the steps to be taken to avoid similar incidents in the future. Forum Energii offered their own analysis of the situation in September 2015. Three years have passed since then. We are reviewing what measures have been taken since 2015 to ensure that energy consumers have a peaceful nights’ rest even in summer time.

Key conclusions

  • Meeting the electricity demand in summer remains the most serious challenge to the reliability of the Polish energy sector.
  • The condition of KSE (Polish Power System) has improved since 2015. The DSR scheme has been introduced. Cross-border trade in electricity has been unblocked. The capacity balance has improved - following the commissioning of Kozienice power plant and a number of gas units.
  • Inadequate steps have been taken to diversify power generation sources. A high share of thermal power plants (both gas and coal) together with rising summer temperatures will cause the problem of summer capacity to reoccur.
  • Electricity supply during the summertime could be further secured with photovoltaic installations of 3-4 GW. However, the solar energy sector has fallen into stagnation due to the lack of a government energy strategy.
  • Reform of the power market has begun. For the supplies to be reliable in the coming years it is critical that the market’s price flexibility increases.

 

Title of analysis: "Jak sobie radzimy ze szczytami letnimi? Bilans zmian po kryzysie 2015 r." 
Date of publication: October 2018
Author: Joanna Maćkowiak-Pandera

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