HEP launches smart grid pilot project in Croatia

  • October 14, 2020
  • Steve Rogerson
Frane Barbarić, president of the HEP management board

Croation electricity distributor HEP-Operator Distribucijskog Sustava (HEP ODS) has launched an HRK177m smart grid pilot project co-financed by the EU.

“In the next ten years, given the goals of the European Union, but also the national goals presented in all our strategic documents such as the Energy Development Strategy and the Integrated National Energy & Climate Plan, we expect network flexibility and development of a modern system that will readily accept large the amount of renewable energy sources in the system “said Tomislav Ćorić, Croatia’s minister of economy and sustainable development.

HEP ODS plans to implement the pilot project by the end of 2022. This will include the digitalisation of a part of the electricity distribution network in Croatia.

The project should increase the efficiency of electricity distribution, create preconditions for increasing the reliability of electricity supply, increase the number of users with access to an advanced network and create preconditions for further integration of distributed sources.

With this project, HEP ODS is investing in three functional areas: advanced infrastructure, development and optimisation of the conventional network, and automation of the medium voltage network.

“The pilot project for the introduction of advanced networks is one of the first energy infrastructure projects in Croatia, co-financed by the European Union, and the co-financed part is the largest contracted grant so far that Hrvatska Elektroprivreda received from EU funds,” said Frane Barbarić, president of the HEP management board. “At HEP, we are ready to be the bearers of Croatia’s energy transition to a low-carbon society, which we have confirmed by successfully launching a renewable development scenario. An important element of this scenario is a reliable, modern, efficient and flexible electricity distribution system, based on the concept of advanced networks.”

As part of the project, an advanced metering infrastructure will be established that will enable more accurate calculation of losses and location of areas with increased losses in the distribution network, monitoring of electricity consumption and active management of consumption at the end user level.

For this, summary meters will be installed in 6125 transformer stations, and 24,000 existing meters will be replaced by advanced meters at customer premises.

The development and optimisation of the conventional network will include the replacement of the existing 449 transformers with new, more energy-efficient transformers, which will contribute to the reduction of technical losses. Automation of the medium voltage network will include the installation of 670 remotely controlled devices in the depth of the network.

The project includes the medium voltage network and users of the electricity distribution network in five out of the 21 distribution areas of HEP ODS: Elektra Zagreb, Elektroslavonija Osijek, Elektrodalmacija Split, Elektra Zadar and Elektrojug Dubrovnik.

“With the help of advanced networks, we will achieve numerous benefits, from better integration of producers and customers, reduced environmental impact, increased efficiency of electricity distribution and increased reliability and security of supply,” said Nikola Šulentić, HEP director.

HRK150m, or 85 per cent, of the money comes from grants from the European Regional Development Fund. In addition, HEP ODS will independently invest an additional HRK52m and the total value of the investment in advanced networks will amount to almost HRK230m.