Energy professionals are constantly challenged by the growing number of household and industrial-scale solar power plants, as integrating renewable energy and balancing the grid is an increasingly complex task. Csaba Kiss, Deputy Chief Technical Officer of MVM Zrt., Spoke to Magyar Nemzet about the existing regulatory capacities, the expansion of the current gas turbine units, energy storage and the involvement of green hydrogen.
– The exponential increase in the number of solar power plants poses new challenges for system-wide regulation. What is the MVM Group doing to regulate renewable energy production?
– The Lőrinci, Sajószöged and Litéri Quick-Start Gas Turbine Power Plants support the reliable operation of the Hungarian electricity system with outstanding availability, they can quickly connect to the system if necessary. However, due to additional regulatory needs caused by electricity from weather-dependent renewables, it has become clear that additional reserve capacities are needed. We believe that we need to build new, state-of-the-art, high-efficiency, wide-range combined-cycle gas turbine units (CCGTs) for the stability of the electricity system.
Therefore, the power plant portfolio of MVM GTER Gázturbinás Erőmű Zrt. Is being expanded with a new element, in a recently closed transaction it acquired Tisza Erőmű Kft. From SPS Smart Power Systems Zrt.
The transaction provides an opportunity to develop a flexible, modern, low-carbon, high-efficiency combined cycle gas turbine facility at the former Tisza II Power Plant site, using existing equipment and permits. This will further increase security of supply and allow for the further development of weather-dependent renewable energy production units with increasing capacity.
– Why did you choose this particular facility?
– The site owned by the company, the existing equipment, permits and experienced professionals provide an ideal basis for the implementation of the power plant investment, which will also require the involvement of available tender resources. The Tisza II Power Plant site in Tiszaújváros has great potential for the brownfield implementation of one or more CCGT blocks. The existing infrastructure is well utilized, and it should not be forgotten that significant human resources will be needed in the coming years, which will increase the economic development of the region.
We will need the work of about a thousand people to implement the investment, and seventy to eighty specialists to operate it.
When we decided to buy the Tisza Power Plant, we also took into account that, in line with the government’s labor market strategy, we should make an investment that is suitable for providing work in an area that is disadvantaged in terms of employment. Of course, energy aspects played a significant role in the transaction, but this can only be achieved if there are adequate human resources in the vicinity of the city concerned. We believe that in Tiszaújváros and Borsod-Abaúj Zemplén county there is a given, sufficient amount of free labor and professional competence.
– Are there additional power plant investments on the agenda?
– Last year, we also started the restart of the Miskolc Heating Power Plant, which is also a combined cycle and has a new electricity capacity of about 40 MW. In 2012, due to the market conditions at that time, the power plant had to be temporarily shut down, but now we calculated that it was worth re-commissioning it after a technical renovation and modernization worth more than two billion forints (including major overhauls of gas turbine manufacturers). We plan to implement this in two phases, the first phase of which was completed in November 2020, and the second phase is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2021.
Thus, the built-in capacity, which also performs system-level regulatory tasks, will be available in the North-Eastern Hungary region, which may provide space for the greenfield installation of weather-dependent renewable sources.
– How much has CCGT technology evolved over the years? What does a modern combined cycle gas turbine power plant look like today?
– The most important thing is that the newly built units will also be able to burn hydrogen in the range of thirty to fifty percent. Hydrogen technology can play a key role in the design and operation of sustainable energy systems. Based on the solar power plant capacity envisaged in the National Energy and Climate Plan, the basis for hydrogen production based on renewable energy can be created in Hungary as well. It is considered to be green hydrogen if the hydrogen is produced by electrolysis with the help of some renewable energy, but it can also include, for example, hydrogen produced from the reforming of biogas (biomethane) by means of algae, in the distant future photocatalytically produced hydrogen.
– The issue of green electricity storage is also a constant topic. Is there a breakthrough in this area?
– Lithium-ion energy storage facilities can also play a significant role in the electricity system of the future, which is why the MVM Group is creating Hungary’s largest energy storage facility. At the Liter site, which is operated by MVM GTER, we are developing a new energy storage unit that will be able to accommodate energy storage units with a capacity of up to 100 MW. This is the size of the project in which the MVM Group needs to think mainly when looking at its large power plant portfolio and considering its future developments. As a first project, we will install a 5 MW lithium-ion energy storage facility, which will be completed by mid-2022, but the next larger energy storage ideas are already on the table. We want to achieve a capacity of 100 MW in the medium term and we will have the largest energy storage capacity not only in Hungary but also in the region.
– What supports the choice of location?
– The Liter gas turbine power plant is located in the strategic network node of the country, and especially in Western Hungary, in direct network connection with the Paks Nuclear Power Plant, from where it will be able to satisfy various network needs as efficiently as possible. On the other hand, it is able to meet the requirements of different storage technologies, thus operating large-scale energy storage facilities at an optimal cost level. The goal is to make the operation of the Hungarian electricity network as efficient and as cheap as possible.
– According to them, the operation of GTER will change, it will no longer have to manage only gas-fired power plants.
– Due to technological expansion and diversity, it will be necessary to rename GTER: MVM Balance Zrt. Will be the new name of the company, which demonstrates the shift of its operational focus.
In addition to the operation of gas turbine power plants, its main task will be to provide flexible capacities with different technologies.
Source: Magyar Nemzet by magyarnemzet.hu.
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