Mix of Nuclear/Renewables to Help SEE Meet Energy Demand, Goals14 Nov 2011 • by Natalie Aster
According to the report “Mix of Nuclear/Renewables to Help SEE Meet Energy Demand, Goals” by SeeNews, in 2010, SEE electricity demand remained almost flat on the year, recording a slim 1.4% increase to 188.1 terawatthours (TWh), while production rose nearly 9.0% to 211.1 TWh. The average increase in electricity production across SEE stood at 13.7%. It was highest in Albania and Montenegro due to extremely favourable hydrological conditions, while Kosovo and Slovenia registered a drop in their production by 5.8% and 4.1%, respectively.
Keeping generation higher than the demand for electricity is crucial for the countries in the region, as most of them are net importers. Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Moldova were the countries where electricity consumption surpassed the output of the local power plants in 2010, while Bosnia, Bulgaria and Romania covered their domestic demand and had reserves to export.
Bulgaria, for instance, produced almost 13 TWh above its demand curve. However, the electricity balance in SEE is delicate with electricity demand seen rising 2.5%-3.0% per year by the Institute of Energy for South-East Europe (IENE).
Back in 2008 consultancy firm KPMG and German research institute European Stability Initiative warned that unless SEE countries invest in new power plants, the region would become increasingly dependent on electricity imports in the following years. Energy trading and investment company EFT Group argues that electricity demand in the region will remain higher than production because additional generation capacity would not be delivered before 2012.
Mix of Nuclear/Renewables to Help SEE Meet Energy Demand, Goals
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In 2010 Romania issued 48 green certificates for electricity production from renewable sources, including 26 for wind farms and 18 for hydro power plants. Croatia has a pipeline of over 350 renewable projects at different stages of the permitting process, including 137 wind farms and 91 small hydro power plants.
Serbian power utility Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) has calculated that the unused potential for small hydro power plants (SHPPs) in the country stands at some 1,700 gigawatthours (GWh).
Macedonia and Montenegro regularly announce tenders for construction and concession of SHPPs, attempting to make use of their hydro potential. In February 2011, Macedonia called an international tender to award a design-build-operatetransfer concession on 44 SHPPs. Also at the beginning of 2011, Montenegro invited potential investors to a tender for the construction and operation of SHPPs at eight sites.
The geography of the region allows for the development of all types of renewable sources, yet wind, sun and water are the most popular options.
Hydro power is vital for SEE electricity generation since it is the most widely used resource, apart from fossil fuels and nuclear energy. More than 50 large rivers flow in the region, delivering some 19,344 MW of installed hydro capacity, according to KPMG’s Central and Eastern European Hydro Power Outlook.
Unfortunately, the countries utilise less than half of their technical potential. Although water is a renewable resource, only the SHPPs with an installed capacity of 10 MW or less are recognised as truly renewable. KPMG’s Hydro Power Outlook shows that SHPPs account for 8.4% of the total installed hydro capacity in SEE.
The majority of the SEE countries have never relied on own nuclear sources. A quick reference to the energy profiles and strategies of the countries reveals that only Bulgaria, Romania and Slovenia have any tradition in nuclear power.
Bulgaria is the leader among the three countries in terms of installed nuclear capacity with the two 1,000 MW reactors of the Kozloduy NPP. The country’s nuclear ambitions include the construction of a second 2,000 MW nuclear plant near Belene, in northern Bulgaria. The project is currently making little progress because Bulgaria and Russia disagree over the price of the units. According to the World Nuclear Association, the first unit of the plant could become operational in 2016 and the second a year later, on condition that the two sides resolve the financial issue and construction works start in 2011.
More information can be found in the report “Mix of Nuclear/Renewables to Help SEE Meet Energy Demand, Goals” by SeeNews.
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