CORDIS - EU research results

Virtual balkan power centre for advance of renewable energy sources in Western Balkans

Final Report Summary - VBPC-RES (Virtual Balkan Power Centre for Advance of Renewable Energy Sources in Western Balkans)

VBPC-RES was a three-year project with an aim to disseminate the information on renewable energy sources (RES) and to remove barriers for their implementation in the Western Balkan (WB) countries. The WB region had great underexploited potential of RES, and by their efficient use, RES could significantly contribute to security of energy supply within the region and wider. Special care was devoted by this project to sound solutions for electricity supply in undeveloped and isolated regions due to war damage.

To achieve the above objectives the following actions have been undertaken:
- A series of four experts workshops on RES technologies dealing with transfer of best practice and best technologies in RES for isolated regions, comprising energy transformation, distribution, operation and control, connection to the local network, energy storage and organisational as also other implementation issues.
- A series of three expert workshops on RES regulation to analyse each WB country barriers and local specifics. VPBC-RES intended to overcome these barriers by exchange of information on incentives for promotion of RES and experiences with harmonisation with EU legislation in both EU, and WB countries.
- Two scientific conference sessions to discuss VBPC topic area, and two regional decision makers conferences on RES technologies regulation to raise awareness among key focus groups.
- Five local workshops in each WB country to focus on each country's specifics, strengthening the link between the scientific community and decision makers.
- Two summer schools for students and exchange of personnel within the region focusing on RES technologies.

The aim of the first workshop was to give an overview about all RES technologies possibly relevant for application in insulated regions. In particular, the following technologies were presented and discussed:
- wind power
- photovoltaic
- biomass fired ORC power generation
- biomass fired Stirling engine power generation
- small hydro power
- solar / biomass / waste driven Desiccant air-conditioning
- geothermal energy
- biogas production and power generation with gas-Otto engine
- pelletising of woody fuel for room heating for small automatic boilers.

The second workshop focused on specific requests on the technical design of RES-plants for isolated regions. The following thematic issues were treated in detail:
- renewable energy sources in Croatian power systems,
- technical design of micro hydro and small hydro power plants,
- increasing penetration of RES in island energy systems,
- technical design of photovoltaic and wind power for a tourist centre at an Adriatic Island,
- technical design of wood pellet fired micro CHP,
- technical design of wood chip fired steam engine / generator at district heating plant,
- wood chip fired ORC-plant for CHP-production for rural village,
- RES application in the Kynthos Island,
- legislative framework for renewable energy use in Croatia,
- absorption cooling system based on waste-wood biomass,
- technical design of a geothermal driven ORC-plant,
- technical definition and current status of RES in Greek islands.

The second workshop focused on specific problems on operation and control of RES in isolated power systems. The following thematic issues were treated in detail:
- integrated system of DMS analytical functions,
- load flow and optimal PF,
- optimal configuration of power system,
- modelling and fault analysis of different wind generator technologies,
- in field verification of the real-time distribution state estimation,
- control aspects: SCADA,
- security aspects,
- state of the art in wind power forecasting,
- distribution management system software for isolated power systems,
- power quality and network planning.

The last workshop gave an overview about needs and challenges in implementation of projects applying, dealing with or supporting RES projects in insulated regions. In particular, the following issues were presented in detail:
- technical and non-technical aspects of RES project implementation, including project preparation, management, decision making processes at project level, organisation of RES systems,
- EU best practice at project implementation,
- barriers and country specifics,
- potentials in WB region.

A set of three workshops were organised to fulfill VBPC-RES objective with regards to regulatory and institutional framework, highlighting incentives for RES installations in WB countries, identifying main factors influencing investment decisions and options to improve RES implementation.

The first workshop focused on country experiences, the second one on regional aspects both gathering information to lead to the third workshop providing with solutions to enhance implementation in WB countries.

First established in 2001, the Virtual Balkan Power conference grew in size and scale year on year, covering key industry issues and market developments as well as the latest strategies employed by energy practitioners across Europe. The fifth and the sixth conferences focused on electricity market issues and renewable energy sources.

The first decision maker workshop was included in the Sixth Balkan Power Conference, benefiting from the audience of a wider participants attendance. It aimed to further discuss the issues addressed in the first set of workshops on transfer of best practice and best available technology in RES for isolated regions.

During the two days of the second decision maker's workshop, experts focused on issues connected to regulation and other governmental incentives supporting RES penetration in isolated regions.

With the same methodology than the two previous decision makers workshops, local workshops picked on gathered knowledge to target more specifically the Western Balkan region.

The two main achievements with education were the Balkan power student contests and Balkan power summer schools.

VBPC-RES offered a unique opportunity for networking between research institutions, industrial partners and utilities within the region, which would contribute to reinforce WB research potential. Cooperation with research institutions from EU member states would additionally allow to position and integrate individual research activities from the WB region into the common European Research Area.

The VBPC-RES’ project partners decided that the first year of the project should be devoted to collecting and coordination of the knowledge and expertise on RES within the Consortium. In the second and third year the work was focused on the resulting synergies and knowledge transfer to the interested public. To ensure the transfer of knowledge to be as efficient as possible, the materials needed to be well prepared and discussed.

All the events performed within the VBPC-RES project were successful in attaining their goals. The two first sets of workshops (seven workshops) gathered state-of-the-art knowledge on RES technologies and related incentives for implementation. Through information exchanges between experts and learning from success stories, VBPC-RES partners were able to adapt and transfer knowledge to key target groups in Western Balkans such as decision makers, policy makers, industrials, SME's, scientists and students. Six events were organised and adapted to each target group: conferences, decision-makers workshops and summer schools.

This project worked on bridging the gap between research sector and industry, bringing them together to discuss RES implementations with regards to technologies but also with regards to local specifics, economic analysis, investment costs, regulations and incentives.

Thus VBPC-RES project allowed a better understanding of RES implementation from energy generation to its distribution in a larger scope.