currENT Response to "PDIRT-E 2021" Proposal
currENT welcomes the opportunity to provide input on the PDIRT-E 2021 for the years 2022 to 2031 as part of this consultation. Making significant progress in this period will be critical for integrating the additional 14 GW+ renewable generation capacity that is planned in the next ten years, and ultimately achieving the 2030 target of 47% of final gross consumption of energy from renewable energy sources. This is even more challenging with high uncertainty on the location of new generation and changing power flows between transmission and distribution networks. We believe there is no alternative to ambitious RES targets and that Grid Enhancing Technologies (GETs) are a key element to make this happen in a secure, affordable and sustainable way in Portugal. We believe that its ambition could be even better met in insisting more on the value add of Grid-Enhancing Technologies (GETs) for the existing grid, but also for reinforcement and future grids, which would further enhance the overall impact of this PDIRT-E.
CurrENT proposes four key points for ERSEs and REN’s consideration:
1. GRID ENHANCING TECHNOLOGIES ARE READY FOR WIDE-SCALE IMPLEMENTATION IN PORTUGAL AND NEED TO BE EXPLICITLY RECOGNISED IN THE PDIRT-E
currENT notes that there are no explicit references to Grid Enhancing Technologies (GETs)3 or innovative solutions in the proposed Base and Complementary projects. currENT strongly supports the PDIRT-E’s approach of modernisation of assets and maximising the use of existing assets to defer investment decisions until there is more certainty on need/probability; however, the role of GETs needs to be recognised more explicitly. GETs can support maximising the use of the existing network and provide additional operational benefits and improve the flexibility and resilience of the network.
2. RAPIDLY DEPLOYABLE SOLUTIONS MUST BE FAIRLY VALUED IN THE MULTI-CRITERIA CBA
Given the common delays associated with implementing new infrastructure projects due to permitting and public acceptance complexities, the value of rapidly deployable solutions must be rec-ognised, e.g. Dynamic Line Rating, intelligent asset sensors and modular power flow control solu-tions such as SSSC devices5. Rapidly deployable solutions can often be delivered in less than a year, leading to the quicker release of capacity, increased efficiency of the existing network and ulti-mately faster progress towards renewable and cross border capacity targets. currENT recom-mends that ERSE and REN consider whether any of the existing projects identified in the NDP could be improved through using rapidly deployable solutions as an interim or enabling measure for large projects, or in some cases as a more optimal solution to part or all of the proposed project.
3. COMPLEMENTARY SOLUTIONS OPTIMISE THE USE OF THE EXISTING GRID
currENT would like to highlight the complementarity of GETs, particularly in terms of maintaining network resilience, managing congestion and optimising the power flows across the network. By leveraging multiple GETs with different functionalities to meet a network need, in most cases, the overall impact will be far greater than if only one technology was used in isolation.
4. HIGH POTENTIAL NEW GRID SOLUTIONS MUST BE PRIORITISED AND ADDED TO THE NETWORK PLANNING TOOLBOX
Given the 40 years plus lifetime of new grid assets, the latest innovative and technological advancements must be taken into account when planning new grids. Examples of these new grid technologies include superconductor cable systems. As the level of renewables connecting to the network continues to increase, highly efficient bulk power transfer of large amounts of power over long distances from generation to demand and across borders will be required across Europe. currENT recommends that ERSE and REN review the processes for qualification of new technologies that have been proven in other geographies to ensure that technologies that can deliver significant value to Portugal in the long-term are sufficiently included and fairly considered as possible solutions as part of the network development plan process.
See more detailed explanations in our full response here.