New power plant connection processes - summary of the 3rd Solar Energy Forum

The third MNB-ZCC Solar Energy Forum was held at the end of January 2022, which focused on the problem of location-specific congestion at the connection points of the public electricity grid due to the explosion of new solar capacity and the possible methods to tackle this problem, with special regard to the new capacity allocation process that is being introduced.

In his introductory speech, Dr. Péter Kaderják, Directos of ZCC, talked about the increase of solar power investments in Hungary, the role of solar power plants in the Hungarian energy strategy and the targets. He described the main barriers to further expansion of solar capacity related to the grid connection process and concluded his presentation by explaining the need for introducing a new capacity allocation procedure to overcome these barriers.

Barnabás Bárdi, Head of the Electricity Supervision and Price Regulation Department of the Hungarian Energy and Public Utility Regulatory Office, presented the legal background of the new publication procedure and the concepts and objectives of the introduction of the new rules.

Zolt Zsoltán Lengyel, Head of the System Level Planning Department of MAVIR Zrt, provided information on the new power plant connection process to the transmission grid and its timing. Mihály Pipicz, Technical Director of MVM Hálózat, gave an insight into the steps of the new distribution grid connection procedure, which are still in the planning phrase. Lajos Mészáros, Chief Planner of the Hungarian Solar Solar Association, and Gábor Molnár, Head of Renewable Business Development of MET represented weather-dependent generation investors.

With the introduction of the new connection procedure, a major change will take effect that will fundamentally determine the future development of solar power plants in Hungary. The new process aims to provide a meaningful response to the many problems that have accumulated in recent years. These include.

  • significantly increase transparency by publishing free connection capacities every six months,
  • introducing a financial guarantee scheme to prevent speculative bookings,
  • the introduction of a common TSO-DSO network modelling to support the integration of weather-dependent power plants into the system, and
  • the definition of the scope of exemptions for market participants intending to connect to the grid and also able to provide resilience services.

Under the new system, the first capacity to connect will be published on 2 May 2022. We all look forward to seeing the results.

The timeliness and market relevance of the topic is reflected by the fact that the forum, which was held partly in person, partly through teleconference, took for more than two and a half hours, was attended by nearly 120 energy and banking professionals.

The Forum presentations and further details can be found on the ZCC website.

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