Image: Delgaz Grid
The project, led by Romanian electricity and gas distribution operator Delgaz Grid and the transmission operator CNTEE Transelectrica in partnership with the Hungarian TSO Magyar Villamosenergia-ipari Átviteli Resdzerszártós (MAVIR), is eligible as one of the European Commission’s ‘projects of common interest’.
Project CARMEN, with a value of approximately €120 million ($119 million) over the period 2023-2026, is aimed at the development of a smart grid with the modernisation and digitalisation of the transmission and distribution networks to improve the network operation efficiency and service quality and enable secure electricity flows from new renewable generation.
The project will include the modernisation of about 200km of high voltage overhead lines, digitalisation of 140 substations, implementation of new IT and communication technologies including an optical fibre for integrating the substations, installation of FACTS for voltage control on the transmission network, the deployment of smart metering and the development of a platform for sharing operational data.
“Together with our partners, we are completing another important stage in the development of this strategic project for our companies, but also for the Romanian energy system,” commented Volker Raffel, CEO of E.ON Romania, of which Delgaz Grid is a part.
“Among other objectives, the CARMEN project will directly contribute to an increase in the capacity of the networks for decentralised energy production. In this way we support customers who want in increasing numbers to become prosumers by installing renewable energy and thus, we contribute to the general effort for decarbonisation, digitalisation and energy security.”
Europe’s projects of common interest are cross-border infrastructure initiatives with impacts to two or more countries.
In addition to Romania and Hungary, the CARMEN project is expected to bring benefits across the entire Eastern European region, including to Moldova, Ukraine and Bulgaria from the perspective of energy flows and the digitalisation of the networks.
Smart grid PCIs
The CARMEN project is one of the five smart grid projects in the latest fifth list of projects of common interest, which was adopted in November 2021.
The others – the first two of which were carried over from the fourth list – are as follows.
ACON (Again COnnected Networks) between the Czech Republic and Slovakia is aimed to foster the integration of the two countries’ electricity markets by improving the efficiency of the distribution networks while increasing the cross-border capacity at DSO level.
Danube InGrid between Hungary and Slovakia is aimed to enhance cross-border coordination of electricity network management, with a focus on smartening data collection and its exchange.
Gabreta between the Czech Republic and Germany is aimed to enhance system optimisation by retrieving and exchanging information in real time, improving metering and monitoring of the grid and more flexibility and hosting capacity for renewable generation.
Green Switch between Austria, Croatia and Slovenia is aimed to optimise the utilisation of existing infrastructure and efficiently integrate new technologies to increase hosting capacity, the integration of new loads and improved quality and security of supply.
Other benefits stated for projects of common interest, besides access to Connecting Europe Facility finance, include accelerated planning and permit granting, improved regulatory conditions, streamlined environmental assessment and increased visibility to investors.