Renewables can also support the stability of the electricity system

ALTEO has launched a new control centre, modelled on its existing gas engine-based control centre, by integrating purely renewable power plants. The initiative, a pioneer in Hungary, will provide a control reserve for the entire Hungarian electricity system. 

After increasing the flexibility of its gas engine-based control centre by commissioning a new electric boiler in the spring, ALTEO is taking another major step towards a more efficient operation of the Hungarian electricity system: in May 2023, it became the first in the country to establish a control centre integrating purely renewable power plants.

In October 2022, it fulfilled the system operator’s requirements for secondary regulation based on purely weather-dependent power plants, and obtained the so-called aFRR (Automatic Frequency Restoration Reserve) accreditation: a unit with this certification is able to implement the system operator’s regulation instructions in real time through tele-mechanical and process control systems, i.e. it can be regulated in real time.

“The new control centre is the best proof that solar power plants are also capable of real-time and continuous power control, of much more flexible operation than before, i.e. they can actively contribute to ensuring system balance,” said Péter Luczay, Deputy CEO for Asset-Backed Energy Trading & Business Development at ALTEO Group.

The integration of highly weather-dependent renewables into a predictable and stable system can be ensured by coordinating generation and consumption, and ALTEO and its peers play a major role in this by adjusting the imbalances in the system by boosting or curbing electricity generation according to the current demand.

While significantly expanding the company’s regulatory reserve market opportunities, the new regulatory hub will also provide the domestic electricity system with a significant amount of additional flexibility. This in turn could facilitate the deployment of additional weather-dependent renewable energy sources in the country, mainly solar and wind. The current renewable control centre of ~160 MW could be significantly expanded in the near future, adding significant additional flexibility to the electricity system.

ALTEO, with a portfolio of ~70 MW of solar and wind power plants, has been providing regulation reserve services for ten years, which until the establishment of the new regulation centre consisted of a system of nearly 100 MW of installed electrical capacity, typically natural gas-fired power plants and energy storage facilities. In addition, its commercial and generation management services are provided to over 1,500 MW of renewable generation, typically solar, representing almost half of the domestic solar market, excluding small domestic plants.