- In a letter to the EC, 19 solar and renewable energy associations highlight the challenges to solar power generation in the bloc
- They want the commission to take steps to control grid curtailment for solar energy and limit it to an acceptable level
- Another ask is to address volatile prices that if left unchecked could negatively impact solar industry investments
Solar and renewable energy associations from 19 European Union (EU) nations have called upon the European Commission (EC) to stop wasting solar during these precious summer months with curtailment, and instead work on a plan to address this waste as well as volatile prices impacting projects negatively.
Having installed over 40 GW solar in 2022, the EU needs to invest in bringing online a minimum of 60 GW of new capacity in 2023, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) to make up for the shortfall in Russian gas.
However, certain market challenges like grid curtailment, if resolved, could facilitate solar power generation in the region, according to the associations.
Concerns and recommendations
In a letter to EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson, the associations claim several EU nations, notably Poland and Czechia are reportedly shutting down solar PV power plants due to unexpectedly lower demand. They choose to operate on harmful and expensive coal instead, thus hampering the bloc’s decarbonization efforts.
Similarly, unaddressed volatility of energy prices and too frequent negative prices endanger investments for companies leading to a slowdown in renewable energy investment.
They also want the market revenue caps on the revenues of renewable energy generators to not be continued for a longer time in order to encourage continued private investments in the sector.
According to the signatories of the letter, the EU must improve the preparedness of the grid with grid development scenarios and allow for anticipatory investments in consultation with stakeholders.
They also bring forward their longstanding demand to accelerate permitting to reduce this time period for large-scale grid infrastructure, that currently takes about 7 years and 10 years for cross-border projects. One of the demands is also to build more storage capacity on the grid via batteries and heat storage.
Among the various suggestions the associations offer to deal with the situation is promoting hybrid solar projects with energy storage or wind, to make the energy system flexibility-ready.
While they see volatility of power prices as a positive to attract flexibility, they want the governments to ensure it does not affect solar PV investments that need long-term stability and visibility. Solar curtailments should be limited to acceptable levels, like in Flanders where it is limited to 5% of the production.
“It is also critical to allow merchant solar assets to capture higher market revenues to compensate for increased periods of negative prices,” reads the letter. “In parallel, the cost of negative pricing should be shared by all generators, including fossil generators, that contribute to creating the constraint in order to ensure the right economic signals for generation behaviour on the grid.”
Entire letter can be read on the website of SolarPower Europe.
Source from Taiyang News
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