Record Number of Energy Production Restrictions from Photovoltaic Farms

Record Number of Energy Production Restrictions from Photovoltaic Farms

In 2024, for the first time, the Polish Transmission System Operator (PSE) decided on March 3rd to halt the sale of surplus energy from renewable energy sources (RES) to the grid (non-market generation reduction). The reduction amounted to 815 MW from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM, 741 MW from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM, and 594 MW from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM.

When Did the Reductions Occur?

The first four reductions occurred in 2023: April 23, April 30, July 2, and October 8. Each time, it happened on Sundays during midday hours, with high production from photovoltaic plants and limited national energy demand. Previously, PSE had implemented similar measures for wind farms.

In 2024, further shutdowns took place on March 10, affecting wind power generation, and on March 26, PSE ordered the sixth reduction (2023-2024) for photovoltaic farms, marking the first reduction on a working day. The season for RES production caused additional shutdowns on April 29, April 30, and May 2. Although these could be considered as shutdowns during a long weekend, on Thursday, May 9, 2024, PSE again had to reduce the operation of solar farms on a working day for the second time in history. Such actions are taken after exhausting other possibilities, i.e., when it is not possible to reduce energy production from conventional sources.

It’s worth noting that PSE’s reduction orders applied to photovoltaic installations connected to the high and medium voltage grid. Therefore, reductions did not affect installations connected to the low voltage grid.

Reasons for Reductions: Excellent RES Energy Production Results

The primary reason for PSE’s reduction of photovoltaic power plant operation is the significant increase in the capacity of these plants in the National Power System. The capacity of photovoltaics in Poland has grown dynamically over the past five years, from a few hundred megawatts in 2018 to over 17 gigawatts in 2024.

The year 2024 is set to be the best for energy production from photovoltaic farms. On Wednesday, May 8, a record production was noted from national photovoltaic systems. At 12:30 PM, PV installations were operating at 11,057 MW, and from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM, they produced 10,874 MWh of energy, as reported by PSE. It took only a month to set a new energy production record from photovoltaic installations, with the previous record being achieved on April 9 this year.

This imbalance between energy demand and supply is the second reason for the shutdowns. One of the tools PSE has (after utilizing other options) to stabilize the national power system is limiting the operation of photovoltaic power plants through non-market redispatching of generating units.

Compensation

It’s important to remember that PSE’s reduction orders come with the obligation to compensate RES energy producers, as per EU Regulation 2019/943. The compensation amount for producers is not specified in fixed rates for generation reduction. According to current regulations, producers receive compensation that covers lost revenue due to the reduction in electricity generation. Owners of photovoltaic installations affected by the latest power reduction are entitled to such compensation, similar to previous instances. To benefit, they must submit a claim to the distribution system operator (PSE).

On the other hand, it should be noted that compensation paid to renewable energy owners by PSE is an additional cost for the power system. The exact amount of compensation to be paid to RES energy producers is currently unknown.

Record Waste

“Record RES production results unfortunately mean that not all generated energy was utilized. Due to oversupply, the aforementioned non-market generation reduction had to be implemented. These excellent results pose a significant problem for Poland’s power system” – says Janusz Żyła, Business Development Manager at Ennovation Technology. The current state of the energy infrastructure means that a large portion of clean energy does not enter the system and has to be wasted. Considering we are only at the beginning of the season, one can imagine the scale of unused energy in the coming months. One remedy for this waste, Żyła emphasizes, is the development of infrastructure for industrial energy storage. We cannot afford inefficiency on such a large scale. Therefore, energy storage must become an integral part of Poland’s energy transition. The knowledge and experience in this field are sufficient to produce energy storage on a large scale. Ennovation Technology, with its experience in battery system development, sees this role for itself as a producer of energy storage actively participating in the development of Poland’s energy market.

Conclusion

In summary, Poland has record-breaking RES energy production and an unprecedented number of RES shutdowns. Currently, we cannot utilize this energy in real-time or store it. Thus, swift actions aimed at developing storage infrastructure seem to be a priority for our energy market.