In the period from last August to the end of July this year, thanks to wind farms, Serbia saved 171 million euros, Marijan Rančić, director of business development at the New Energy Solutions company, revealed to the Klima101 portal.
The issue of the stability of the energy system became particularly topical during the winter months of 2021/22. when our country was faced with reduced operating capacity of coal-fired thermal power plants and their forced shutdowns, rising energy prices on the international market and electricity imports. From January to the end of July, according to estimates, the import of electricity cost the state around 600 million euros. If there was no wind, the costs would be 15% higher, which is savings of around 90 million euros.
“Given that we are working on the promotion of wind, i.e. renewable energy sources, it was important for us to find out: how much did wind farms contribute to the stability of the energy system in Serbia and how much more would it cost without it? We came up with surprisingly large amounts”, he said.
Clean energy has thus also demonstrated its potential to provide essential support to energy supply – in addition to being a key actor in the decarbonization of the economy. Unfortunate events and breakdowns in the thermal power industry proved that in Serbia it is possible to maintain the power system with the help of renewable sources, and in the absence of key thermal power plants. In terms of importance, in addition to wind farms, hydropower plants and imports stood out – which, admittedly, entails huge expenditures.
However, as our interlocutor pointed out, due to the unavailability of data from the Electric Power Company of Serbia on electricity imports, forecasted and produced electricity from all wind farms in Serbia, and the influence of errors in consumption, the obtained results should be taken with a certain amount of uncertainty, which can be quantified by an error of + /- 5%.
From January to the end of July, according to estimates, the import of electricity cost the state around 600 million euros. If there were no wind, costs would be 15% higher
By the way, Serbia has 393 MW of installed wind capacity, which annually provides the amount of electricity consumed by an average of 220,000 Serbian households. “There is still the largest number of wind farms in Vojvodina, i.e. Banat, in the triangle between Zrenjanin, Vršac and Kovina, followed by Veliko Gradište and Smederevska Palanka, in eastern Serbia towards Bor.” We have the Kostolac wind power plant, which is being built by Elektroprivreda Srbije. These are the areas with the strongest wind energy potential”, Rančić told us.
However, the expansion of wind power plants has recently been announced in areas that were not known for wind power plants until now. “There are projects in other parts of Serbia as well. In the media these days, we can read that the construction of a wind park on the hills near Vranje is being planned”, emphasized the director of business development at New Energy Solutions.
Of course, Serbia is not an isolated example when it comes to the savings recorded during the energy crisis thanks to renewable sources: a new report by research centers Ember and E3G shows that only the increase in wind and solar capacity, in the period from March to September 2022, enabled the European Union to save 11 billion euros that it would have spent on gas, of which 8 billion euros for imports. Clean energy covered 24% of the EU’s energy needs, the highest share in six months so far – this is especially important for them due to the delicate political situation caused by the war in Ukraine and the increase in gas prices by four times compared to the previous year.
Judging by Mariano’s words, the wind will partially ease the upcoming winter, which, as announced, will be difficult in terms of energy supply, and electricity restrictions are also possible.
“The dominant production in wind farms is from the second half of October to April next year because the Košava wind is dominant. This is now the strongest period. “Košava is ‘driving’ production to the maximum”, said Marijan Rančić.
With him, we also touched on the subject of the sun – while in other European countries solar power plants break production records, in Serbia they do not seem as attractive to investors, regardless of the fact that the energy potential of solar energy is 30% higher than in Central Europe. Where did that come from?
“Solar is technically less demanding, in terms of development and creation of project-technical documentation, it is simpler.” But solar has another problem – using agricultural land to build solar power plants. The law itself defined that the use of agricultural land of the first five cadastral classes is not allowed for non-agricultural purposes”, pointed out Rančić and added that this is slowly changing. “It is realistic that we will have more large solar power projects in the coming years as the market base for commercially viable utility-scale projects is emerging.”
We asked Marijan what the situation is with small solar power plants on roofs, since the status of prosumer (buyer-producer of electricity) was recently introduced into our legislation. “Prosumers have just started, but the current model of Elektroprivreda Srbija is not in accordance with what is meant by net metering and net calculation”, he assessed, Klima writes.