February 5, 2016 / 1:01 PM / 3 years ago

Czech transit electricity flows hit record due to German wind power

PRAGUE, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Electricity flow transitting the Czech Republic reached a record in 2015, rising 40 percent due mainly to growing wind power production in Germany, the Czech grid operator said on Friday.

Czech operator CEPS has long worked to safeguard the country’s power system against surges of electricity flows produced by wind farms in Germany’s north that travel to the south via the Czech Republic.

“In the last year, the physical ... flows through our transmission system increased significantly, but not trade exports and imports,” CEPS Chairman Vladimir Tosovsky said.

“These were unplanned electricity overflows caused by high generation of wind power in northern Germany, directed to southern and eastern Europe.”

German wind power surges can overload transmission lines, cause blackouts or losses when operators are forced by such surges to alter output at power plants.

CEPS agreed in 2014 with its German counterpart to build so-called phase-shifting transformers by the end of 2016 to control cross-border electricity flows. A CEPS spokeswoman said the project was progressing on schedule.

CEPS has also used redespatching with neighbouring operators to mitigate risks of an increasing transit load.

Czechs electricity exports fell by 4 TWh to 12.5 TWh last year, CEPS said. Czech power plants produced 84 TWh of power in 2015.

This was due to unplanned shutdowns at nuclear power stations run by majority state-owned utility CEZ, which cut nuclear-sourced output by 3.5 TWh compared with 2014, and economic factors that made it sometimes cheaper to import power rather than operate expensive plants. (Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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