Elering plans to acquire frequency reserves of up to 400 MW to cover the deficit arising from the withdrawal from Russia's BRELL electricity grid. The costs will amount to tens of millions a year.
Reserves are needed for stability to maintain the balance of electricity consumption and production. They must be permanently available in case unexpected circumstances arise.
"For as long as we have been in the Russian system, the Russian system has provided it. From the moment of desynchronization, the Baltic States will have to find their own frequency reserves, i.e. power plants or storage that can help balance the books at any minute," Elering's manager Kalle Kilk told ERR.
The need for reserves will increase when Russia leaves the frequency band and with the increase in the share of renewable energy.
Elering said the Baltics will need approximately 1,000 megawatts of reserves in total, and of that Estonia will need between 250-400 megawatts.
"Part of this will depend on how much unpredictable electricity generation there will be in Estonia. This can be provided, for example, by storage devices – batteries or pumped hydro. Another option is power plants that can provide regulation quickly, such as thermal or gas power plants," Kilk said.
Kilk said the price of guaranteeing reserves is not yet known. Or how much will be passed on to the customer.
"It will depend on the future market outcome, but it will be the same service as used by all other core networks in Europe. Since the price and cost of the service there is not in any way too burdensome for the consumer, and it is necessary for the system to work, it will probably be the same in Estonia, a tolerable service," said Kilk.
He said the prices vary across Europe depending on resources. For example, countries with large hydro reserves have an advantage.
A public consultation will be launched in the future, Kilk said. Several companies have already expressed an interest in setting up pumped hydro and gas-fired power plants, he added.
"We believe there will be more than one or two bidders," Kilk said.
Elering wants to finalize its framework in 2024 so it can organize a long-term procurement in 2025.
"Our idea is to offer a long-term contract so that there is at least certainty that the power plant is there and should be able to operate in 2028-2029," Kilk said.
Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are planning to desynchronized from BRELL and join the continental grid in 2025.
Editor: Barbara Oja, Helen Wright
Source: Interview by Huko Aaspollu