Bratislava 7 May 2021 – Deepened cross-border cooperation of distribution and transmission system operators brings modern smart grids into western and south-western regions of Slovakia. By utilising the cutting edge ‘Smart Grid’ technologies for automated control and remote monitoring of the electrification system, the smart grids allow for the flexible adjustment of the grid parameters and flexible outage management.
Modernisation activities in the grid were started by Západoslovenská distribučná, a. s. (ZSD) as part of one of its most important projects – ACON. Project implementation partner is the Czech distribution system operator, EG.D, a. s. (formerly E.ON CZ) and the project is supported by Slovenská elektrizačná prenosová sústava, a.s. (SEPS). In 2018, ACON became the first PCI (project of common interest) in the area of smart grids implemented exclusively by distribution companies in the CEE region. Danube InGrid is another PCI project contributing to building the smart grid. Project Danube InGrid was launched this year, and it will create an extensive interconnected energy infrastructure. Danube InGrid is the result of cooperation between two Slovak companies – SEPS and ZSD – and the Hungarian distribution system operator E.ON Észak-dunántúli Áramhálózati Zrt. PCIs are key infrastructure projects aiming to connect European energy systems and achieve EU’s energy and climate goals.
Project ACON brings the first results
Due to the cross-border nature of the project, individual activities are carried out mainly in border areas, as one of ACON’s goals is deepening the cooperation of Slovakia and Czech Republic and integrating the electricity market between the two countries. The corona virus pandemic has not affected the implementation of project ACON and the grid modernisation continues. “Since the project start, 23 km of overhead MV lines have been replaced with underground cabling and several modern HV/LV transformer stations have been built. Cabling of the lines took place primarily in inaccessible forest terrains in locations near Čachtice, Lubina – Javorina, Dolná Súča, Krásna Ves and Borský Mikuláš, as these sections were very prone to failures during every major weather calamity, especially during storms, strong winds or frost. In 2021 we plan to carry out activities with the overall value of almost EUR 20 million. The focus of this year’s plan is the start of the construction of the new 110/22 kV substation near Borský Svätý Jur, complex modernisation of twenty two brick HV/LV transformer stations and “digitisation” of over 150 km of MV lines,” said Marian Rusko, member of the Board of Directors of ZSE.
One of the first project ACON activities was the investment in the modernisation of one of the most failure-prone lines which provides electricity distribution in the Trenčín region. By digitising almost 8 km of MV lines in the area of Drietoma – Kykula and burying it underground, the failure rate decreased, which showed especially during the winter when there was no failure recorded on this section. Part of the major investment was also the construction of three new transformer stations.
“Electricity is probably the only main medium for the citizens in this area because it powers the operation of the entire household. They were often without it in the most critical times, for example during snow calamities when the terrain was inaccessible. We are happy that over the last two winters there were no more outages at our location,” said Ľubomír Škriečka, Mayor of Chocholná-Velčice.
One of the main goals of the project ACON is the cooperation of distribution systems between Slovakia and Czech Republic, and that is why it includes primarily cross-border areas. “In the next five years, over 190,000 customers will feel increased customer comfort, especially in the districts of Malacky, Senica, Skalica, Myjava, Nové Mesto nad Váhom and Trenčín, as well as other customers in southern and eastern part of Czech Republic,” Marian Rusko added.
With Danube InGrid for safer and more stable energy supply also in the south-west of Slovakia
Thanks to the project Danube InGrid, an extensive interconnected energy infrastructure will be created. The project will be implemented in southwestern Slovakia and north-western Hungary.
The primary aim of the Danube InGrid project is the construction of a smart grid in the CEE region which will allow a far-reaching integration of renewable energy producers in the distribution system while maintaining the high quality and security of the supply.
“Investments in smart technologies on the domestic and cross-border level will enable the development of further modern infrastructure, creating a foundation that will bring benefit to all electricity market participants,” said Martin Riegel, Member of the Board of Directors
and Managing Director for Development, Investment and Procurement of SEPS.
As part of Danube InGrid, technology in 150 HV/LV transformer stations in Slovakia will be modernised, new substations will be constructed along with 320 km of optical network, and IT solutions enabling the Smart Grid concept operation will be implemented.
“Activities within the Danube InGrid project will increase the quality of electricity supply and eliminate impacts of supply outages. On the distribution and transmission system level, the reliability of supply of node areas in the Bratislava region will increase,” added Karol Kósa, executive director for Electrification System Development, SEPS.
Environmental aspect is equally important, as the lines often go through a demanding terrain or protected nature zones and affect the nature. By burying the lines, the poles will be eliminated, which will change the land’s image in a positive manner. The impact of this change on avifauna is also significant, as it will prevent birds crashing into overhead lines. The impact on the vegetation will also decrease because the required protection zone will be noticeably reduced.
Both projects are focused on massive deployment of cutting-edge smart technologies which will enable the launch of the “new energy industry” based on local renewable sources. Modern technology will allow to connect more renewable energy sources to the system and also support the deployment of quick-charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. “Danube InGrid and ACON project activities will lead to the decrease of negative impacts of the growing energy consumption on the environment thanks to the expected more efficient integration of renewable energy sources in the system, as well as the expected decrease of losses in the system,” Marian Rusko added.