Integrating Renewable Energy into the Chilean Grid. J.C. ARANEDA - R. VALPUESTA Transelec S.A. Chile

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1 21, rue d Artois, F PARIS C5-103 CIGRE 2012 http : // Integrating Renewable Energy into the Chilean Grid J.C. ARANEDA - R. VALPUESTA Transelec S.A. Chile SUMMARY The Chilean Electricity Law was modified in 2008 to integrate non-conventional renewable energy into the electricity market. Therefore, significant investment on renewable energy plants is expected over the next years. Wind power and mini-hydro (lower than 9 MW plants) are expected to have the highest penetration. In Chile, every year the system operator CDEC must revise the main grid s transmission expansion plan, based on a trunk transmission study that identifies the referential projects for the next four years, according to the current market conditions, particularly demand and effective generation development. Following CDEC s recommendation the regulation entity National Energy Commission (CNE) must release the transmission expansion plan. New wind farms and mini-hydro can be constructed as soon as 24 months, after getting the approval of its environmental impact study, however currently the development of a new transmission line requires at least 60 months, including the negotiation of its rights of way, the environmental impact study and its construction. The construction of new transmission lines are affected to high risks such as land owners opposition, long legal assessments and fierce opposition from local communities due to environmental concerns. On the transmission pricing side the regulatory framework allocates payments to generators based on the expected line use. Large wind farms may push large transmission expansions which are not related to the small allocation on transmission payments by wind generation s small plant factor. Therefore, existing conventional generators could potentially be affected by transmission toll payments that increases and therefore they will oppose to new expansion projects. This fact can potentially affect the connection decision of wind power plants because of congestion risks on the transmission grid. In a competitive generation market, projects may change, postpone or new ones can appear in a short period of time, requiring flexible planning methods to decide new transmission expansions. Flexibility means that solutions can be considered incremental solutions which follow the generation market but do not represent the most efficient options in the long term. A way forward may be looking for new network technology such as special protection schemes, grid dynamic rating or fast voltage support via FACTS devices. KEYWORDS Renewable energy, transmission planning, transmission pricing, deregulated markets, locational marginal costs.

2 1. INTRODUCTION The Chilean Electricity Law was modified in 2008 in order to foster the integration of Non- Conventional Renewable Energy (NCRE) into the electricity market. The law defines NCRE as the generation produced by non-conventional sources connected to the grid, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, tidal and small hydro plants up to 20 MW [1]. The law indicates that from 2010 to 2014, power suppliers must certify that at least 5% of the electricity traded in new contracts every month comes from renewable energy sources, either self-produced or bought to other producers. From 2015 onwards, the obligation will increase by 0.5% annually until 10% in A group of members of the Parliament have proposed to increase this target to 20%. Therefore, significant investment on renewable energy plants is expected over the next years. Wind power and mini-hydro projects (lower than 9 MW plants) are expected to have the highest penetration. The convenience to increase the participation of NCRE in the electricity matrix has been in the center of debate in the last years in Chile. This debate has been driven by the need to diversify the energy matrix in order to increase security of supply, meet environmental concerns of the society, considering lower environmental impact of such plants and under a scenario of permanent growth in fossil fuels prices. Renewable energy was one of the issues covered in the report of the Advisory Commission on Electricity Development (CADE by its Spanish acronym) [2], a special commission appointed by the President of Chile in May 2011, coordinated by the Ministry of Energy and integrated by fifteen former energy ministers, academics and consultants. The recommendations proposed by CADE regarding NCRE are as follows: a) Financing: strengthen public of private credit access to competitive projects and reduce investment risks, including special insurance on spot energy prices or production. Alternatively, a scheme of stabilized spot energy prices can be developed. b) Access to contracts: reduce entry barriers on final customers for small projects, especially on distribution companies bidding processes. c) Transmission: incentive the association of NCRE projects located in the same zone to develop shared transmission lines, with sufficient capacity and an optimal route to cover all the feasible projects. d) Distributed generation: establish a regulation that permits the injection of energy surplus coming from regulated customers that decide to integrate NCRE. Additionally, foster the NCRE integration on isolated systems to develop sustainable and intelligent hybrid networks. e) Public information: continue developing energy resources information systems and additionally, produce objective information on renewable technology costs. f) Renewable target: according to the permanent decrease on renewable technology costs, it can be possible to increase the target to 15% in g) Non-competitive technologies: public support to research and development on technologies that currently are not competitive but have an enormous potential in the country, such as solar energy. In this paper the impact of integrating renewable energy into the Chilean grid is analyzed, focus on the regulatory issues that emerge in order to facilitate the NCRE connection from the economic and technical point of view, considering an opportune expansion of the grid capacity, in such a way to 1

3 align the efforts to get security of supply, economic efficiency and a sustainable development of the Chilean energy market. 2. CHILEAN ELECTRICITY MARKET Chile was the pioneer country in the world that deregulated and privatized the electricity industry after the enactment of the Electricity Law in The electricity market was restructured in generation and distribution companies that were successively privatized at the end of the 1980 s. An economic load dispatch center denominated CDEC (by its Spanish acronym) was created in 1985 to act as the system operator. Furthermore the main transmission company, Transelec, was created also under private ownership in According to the Chilean electricity law, the market consists of three segments: generation, transmission and distribution. The generation segment is defined as a competitive market with freedom to invest, while the transmission and distribution segments are recognized as monopolistic activities and therefore companies operating in these segments have regulated tariffs. Agents in the generation market compete to supply power to consumers, operating under a locational short run marginal cost (SRMC) pool-dispatch regime, coordinated by the system operator CDEC. Competition aims on capturing demand growth with the most economic generation plus transmission technology, resulting in lower prices for final customers. The Electricity Law was amended in March 2004 with the introduction of significant changes to the transmission pricing and expansion procedures. Additionally, a special tribunal called Experts Panel was created in order to resolve any discrepancy among energy market agents, the system operator CDEC or the regulatory entity CNE. Furthermore, in May 2005 the law was again amended to introduce improvements on the energy market regarding long term prices applied to the contracts among generation and distribution companies, introducing energy contract auctions in a pay-as-bid scheme. The law was finally modified in 2008 in order to foster the integration of NCRE into the electricity market, as it was explained in the introduction. Chile is a very long (4,300 km) and narrow country located along a coastal strip in South America between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Chile has two main interconnected systems: SING (Northern Interconnected System) and SIC (Central Interconnected System) running along around 2,600 km from north to south. The SIC electricity generation matrix has been traditionally composed by large hydro and thermoelectric power plants, mainly coal fired and natural gas. SING is an almost 100% thermoelectric system with coal fired, natural gas and diesel power plants. Main transmission voltages on the SIC are 500 kv, 220 kv and 154 kv, while on the SING they are 220 kv and 110 kv. Electricity demand is expected to continue growing up due to the Chilean economic growth. Historically demand and economic growth have been strongly correlated. Figure 1 presents the SING and SIC demand growth (historic and forecast), installed capacity and source, plus main geographic and demographic figures. Demand forecast for the period corresponds to projections of the Chilean energy regulatory body, the National Energy Commission (CNE). 2

4 MAIN CHILEAN INTERCONNECTED SYSTEMS NORTHERN INTERCONNECTED SYSTEM (SING) Average load growth : 5.0 % Expected annual load growth : 6.4 % Inst. capacity / Max. Dem. (MW) : 4,585 / 2,052 Regulated / Non Reg. Customers : 11% / 89% Hydro / Thermal : 0.3% / 99.7% Length : 600 km Population : 6% CENTRAL INTERCONNECTED SYSTEM (SIC) Average load growth : 4.1 % Expected annual load growth : 6.0 % Inst. capacity / Max. Dem. (MW) : 12,620 / 6,881 Regulated / Non Reg. Customers : 59% / 41% Hydro / Thermal : 47% / 53% Length : 1,800 km Population : 92% Figure 1: SING and SIC main power system figures. Figure 2 shows the evolution of energy sources in SIC and SING, remarking the introduction of Argentinean natural gas in 1997, which was substituted by liquefied natural gas (LNG) in SIC - GENERATION INSTALLED CAPACITY SING - GENERATION INSTALLED CAPACITY Figure 2: SING and SIC energy matrix evolution. 3

5 A significant investment on renewable energy plants is expected over the next years in order to meet the obligations of the 2008 renewable law, considering also the favorable natural conditions of the country and the price reductions due to technology improvements. Figure 3 shows the NCRE generation projects presented to the national environmental impact evaluation system. Wind power presents the highest penetration far from small hydro, solar, geothermal and biomass plants. Wind energy figures can push significantly on the need to expand the existent capacity of the transmission grid; nevertheless its energy contribution is low due to the expected plant factor (around 25% to 30%). Generation Projects of NCRE (MW) Project Status Wind Small Power Hydro Geothermal Biomass Solar Under Construction Presented Approved 2, Projects Under qualifying Not qualified Announced Not yet submitted 1, Figure 3: NCRE projects in Chile The expansion and pricing of the main transmission grid work on a co-operative regulated scheme in order to include the participation of every agent in the electricity market [3]. Three transmission segments are defined in the law: trunk, subtransmission and additional systems. Trunk system assets are the main one and defined as those essential to facilitate competition in the energy market, integrated by facilities over 220 kv that are economically efficient and necessary to supply the total system demand. Subtransmission system assets facilitate access to consumers grouped into regional areas, with regulated and non-regulated prices (clients of capacity equal or higher than 2 MW). Additional transmission systems assets are those exclusively dedicated either to non-regulated price consumers or to connect power plants to the system. The planning and expansion of the trunk system is determined every four years when a trunk transmission study is performed, which includes the valuation of the existent grid and the expansion plan with the transmission projects to be initiated in the following years. The study is directed by a multi-party committee representing market agents (generators, transmission companies, large consumers and the regulator). The expansion plan includes a schedule of transmission reinforcements and/or new installations, based on a generation expansion overview provided by the regulator. Every year the system operator CDEC must revise the trunk expansion plan according to the current market conditions, particularly demand and effective generation development, with a consultation process including all the involved agents. Then CDEC recommends the corresponding trunk transmission projects to the CNE. Afterwards the CNE has 30 days to release the expansion plan of the trunk system with the projects that must begin construction in the next 12 months. If a market agent disagrees of the expansion plan, it can present a discrepancy in front of the Experts Panel, who has 30 days to resolve. Ideally, in the annual revision process the NCRE projects must presented in order to identify future congestions in the grid and evaluated the better solutions to expand the grid capacity. However, in reality NCRE projects see the light of day when the owners sign a power purchase agreement and then obtain the financing to go ahead, and this can happen anytime on a year. 4

6 3. IMPACT OF RENEWABLES ON THE GRID Depending on the energy market design, regulatory framework, grid topology and location of NCRE sources, several problems need to be addressed to permit an efficient access for renewable power into the transmission grid. In Chile one of the problems is the natural barrier to entry for new generators, originated in the long and radial characteristic of the transmission systems. In the past these were essentially developed and adapted economically to conventional generation and demand [4]. However there are areas, for instance in the north of SIC, where wind power potential is high and transmission grid expansions may be required by capacity constraints, i.e. transfer peak wind injections, although energy contribution is rather small. Up to 2011 only 192 MW are in operation in the north of SIC. Intermittency of NCRE is another issue to consider. On the daily dispatch, generation reserves criteria must be revised by CDEC, especially taking into account the length of lines that connect plants to loads. On the monthly and weekly energy storage framework, SIC has got special attributes due to the amount of hydro reservoirs that provide an existing storage capability. Certainly there are long distances (more than 700 km) between wind farms located in the north and hydro reservoirs located in the south, but the creation of a strong transmission grid should permit to capture such a benefit. New wind farms and mini-hydro can be constructed as soon as 24 months, after getting the approval of its environmental impact study. However, currently development of a new transmission line requires at least 60 months, including the negotiation of its rights of way, the environmental impact study and its construction. The construction of new transmission lines are affected to high risks such as land owners opposition, subject to long legal assessments and fierce opposition from local communities due to environmental concerns, that finally have a negative impact on the commissioning date. Current transmission line works have been delayed one year or more compared to the committed date and the additional costs of investment are afforded by the transmission owners that committed a fixed toll under a competitive bidding process under the trunk system expansion rules. Following the energy development debate on transmission reliability, congestion and delays in recent construction works, transmission was another issue covered in CADE report [2] that recommended the following topics related to improving grid expansion: a) Agility in transmission rights of way: accelerating legal and regulatory changes to improve concessions and easements processes for new transmission lines. b) Creation of an electricity highway : allocating on the State the responsibility to create opportune easement strips (longitudinal and transversal) for transmission lines in a similar way to highway concessions, as a previous step before bidding construction and operation. c) Permanent transmission planning: CDEC must constitute a permanent instance on trunk transmission planning besides annual revision and 4-years trunk study. d) Robust trunk transmission: to be developed in further trunk studies, increasing the number of scenarios, including uncertainties and generation options, remarking system reliability and critical operating conditions. 5

7 e) Public interest corridors (longitudinal and transversal): to be developed via anticipated investment in transmission to accommodate future entrants, considering easement strips facilitated by the State. In longitudinal corridors, transmission capacity slacks can be temporarily remunerated by final customers and then transferred to new generators when they are connected or require capacity reservation. In transversal corridors for NCRE, consider capacity slacks to include future entrants. f) Allocation of transmission toll payments: currently the allocation of transmission costs of the existent grid is 80% to generation and 20% to demand in the common area of influence (zone that basically concentrates 75% of system generation and 75% of demand), but it must be revised according to the current location of efficient power plants and augmenting participation of users that benefitted from higher reliability of robust trunk systems. On the transmission pricing side the regulatory framework allocates payments to generators based on the expected line use under several operating conditions. Large wind farms may push large transmission expansions which are not in proportion to the small allocation of transmission payments that are closely related to the small plant factor of wind generation. Therefore, existing conventional generators could potentially be affected by transmission toll payments that increases and therefore they will oppose to new transmission expansion projects. This situation can potentially affect the connection decision of wind power plants because the congestion risk on the transmission grid would affect the injection spot price at the connection node. 4. MAIN REGULATORY CHALLENGES For the Chilean power system, largely dominated by conventional generation technologies, the integration of NCRE represents a big challenge. Particularly wind power in large scale means a big impact on a long radial transmission grid due to the intermittency and unpredictability characteristic of power injections. Operational aspects such as voltage stability control and generation reserves for frequency control will become major issues for the system operator in the future [5]. Among CADE recommendations on transmission expansion and NCRE integration there are several regulatory challenges that must be faced by the regulatory entity and debated with energy market agents. Certainly the State responsibility on facilitating easements strips for new transmission lines will reduce risks on investors and will introduce more certainty on commissioning dates, if new line corridors are evaluated and negotiated with enough years ahead. Some of the other challenges are analyzed below. Robust trunk transmission means making decisions in advance to avoid constraints to new NCRE entrance, considering transmission planning under uncertainties, taking into account different generation plan scenarios along with an anticipatory investment regime. The main issues that challenge the definition of the transmission expansion plan are related to the new generation power plants to be commissioned under a competitive energy market [6]. The following questions arise: What kind of technology will be used in the new generation plants? When will the new plants being connected? Where are the new plants going to connect to the grid? How much capacity is being connected? Under a deregulated scheme there is freedom to answer all this questions and then the investment decision concerning the expansion of the grid takes the form of an expansion strategy instead of an 6

8 expansion plan. This strategy must determine the set of transmission projects that allow the best solution to the energy market participants, minimizing the total cost to the users. In past years, system operator CDEC only recommended transmission expansions based on firm commitments from new network users, i.e. full certainty on new generation plants decisions. That strategy caused being always late and provoking higher operational costs in the short term, economic losses on generation investors and higher prices on final consumers. In that framework, extensive construction times of new grid developments, considering community and environmental approval and rights of way negotiations, meant bottlenecks for the integration of new generation, particularly renewable energy, high congestion costs and a negative impact on security of supply. Existing generators had got the power to exercise veto on trunk transmission investment decisions, delaying expansion projects that affected new entrants through underinvestment on some transmission corridors, while minimizing transmission toll payments in the short-term. Figure 4 represents an example of the robust transmission concept, showing the economic evaluation of a new transmission line on a corridor, with two tower options: single circuit line today and another single line in the future, or double circuit today but only one circuit constructed and adding the second circuit cable in the future. In power systems with permanent demand growth, like Chile, the economic evaluation usually arises to the conclusion that the present value of investment is lower for the double circuit option and therefore, that is the expansion decision to be made. However, for generators that will pay the new line, transmission tolls will be higher in the short term due to the higher cost of a double circuit line in comparison with a single circuit line. This paradox has meant several discussions and oppositions from generators to new transmission lines, although for a sustainable development it is essential to minimize the number of new corridors, especially in a narrow country like Chile [5]. Figure 4: Long and short term vision in transmission expansion Challenges also emerge on the transmission pricing side. The existing regulation allocates payments of the transmission lines to generators based on line usage over time. Wind farms may push large transmission expansions which do not coincide with their small proportion on transmission payments because of the low plant factors of wind generation. Therefore, existing generators could potentially see toll payments increases and so will oppose to such expansion projects. This, in turn, can potentially affect the connection decision of wind power projects because of the risk of congestion in the transmission grid. 7

9 Regarding longitudinal corridors, Figure 5 shows the challenge related to managing the right way to connect NCRE to the transmission grid, meeting technical standards, while obtaining an association among projects located close by. Connection in several tap-off Connection with sectioning substation Figure 5: NCRE connection on the longitudinal transmission grid Regarding transversal corridors, Figure 6 shows the challenge to manage the association of NCRE projects located in the same zone to develop shared transmission lines, with sufficient capacity and optimal route to cover all the feasible projects. Individual connection of every generation project Shared connection of all generation projects Figure 6: NCRE connection via transversal transmission corridors Regarding the allocation of transmission toll payments, the current allocation of transmission tolls, 80% to generation and 20% to demand, is unique due to the Chilean energy model created in the 80s. A revision of concepts behind the allocation should arrive to the conclusion that the additional cost of a reliable robust trunk system must be allocated 100% on demand, because final consumers perceive all benefits from a reliable grid in terms of higher security of service. Generators should pay tolls allocated depending on a locational signal over the grid used for adequacy only. 8

10 Finally, in a competitive generation market, projects may change, postpone or new ones can appear in a short period of time, requiring flexible planning methods to decide new transmission expansions. This flexibility means that solutions can be considered incremental solutions which follow the generation market but do not represent the most efficient options in the long term. A way forward may be looking for new and smart network technology as the following: Special protection schemes to permit the short term use of existent transmission capacity while new capacity is still under construction. It means providing open access with an interruptible capacity. Grid dynamic rating to optimize the use of long transmission lines under different ambient temperatures and wind velocity. Fast voltage support via FACTS devices, like SVC or STATCOM, which have been introduced in the SIC in recent years. 5. CONCLUSIONS Running for almost thirty years, Chilean electricity regulation is facing a challenging moment to balance security of supply, economic efficiency and sustainability. Difficulties to build up new transmission installations require changes on regulatory signals in order to anticipate transmission investment decisions to provide certainty to new entrants, particularly renewable energy, providing an effective access to the electricity market and minimizing congestions. This is a big issue for a transmission grid that has been developed permanently adapted to generation and demand requirements, with probabilistic security of service criteria and no spare capacity left. Recommendations released in November 2011 by the Advisory Commission on Electricity Development (CADE) aim on the right direction. Providing a vast set of proposals, now it is time to advance on the new regulatory rules. Difficulties to build up new transmission lines would be mitigated creating public interest corridors (longitudinal and transversal) to be developed via anticipated investment to accommodate future entrants, considering easement strips facilitated by the State. In longitudinal corridors, transmission capacity slacks can be temporarily remunerated by final customers and then transferred to new generators. Regarding NCRE, transversal public interest corridors facilitated by the State, that consider shared development and capacity slacks to include future entrants, can be a solution for small power plants located far from the main grid. For the Chilean power system, largely dominated by conventional generation technologies, the integration of NCRE represents a big challenge. Particularly wind power in large scale means a big impact on a long radial transmission grid due to the intermittency and unpredictability characteristic of power injections. A revision of concepts behind transmission payment allocation of the existent grid is needed. Currently, transmission payment allocation depends on the expected energy transported, while the effective use that correlates with expansion should address on the users contribution at maximum transportation levels. The allocation 80% to generation and 20% to demand must be revised considering that final consumers are mostly benefitted from a reliable robust trunk system and therefore allocation rules should take into account this fact. 9

11 BIBLIOGRAPHY [1] Chilean Electricity Law, DFL-4, [2] Report of the Advisory Commission on Electricity Development, CADE, November [3] Rudnick, H., Araneda, J. and Mocarquer, S., Transmission planning From a market approach to a centralized one The Chilean experience, IEEE General Meeting, Calgary, Canada, July [4] Rudnick, H. and Mocarquer, S., The insertion of renewables into the Chilean electricity market, IEEE General Meeting, Minneapolis, USA, July [5] Araneda, J., Mocarquer, S., Moreno, R. and Rudnick, H., Challenges on Integrating Renewables into the Chilean Grid, PowerCon 2010, Hangzhou, China, October [6] Araneda, J. and Martinez, O., Transmission Planning in the Chilean Electricity Market, CIGRE Symposium, Guilin, China, October

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