Black Sea Transmission System Operators Sign MOU, Reaffirm Commitment to Cooperation and Regional Planning

Black Sea electric transmission system operators (TSOs) responsible for planning and dispatching the high voltage electricity grids in their countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) reaffirming their 16-year commitment to cooperate on regional network planning. Under the framework of the Black Sea Regional Transmission Planning Project (BSTP), the MOU pledges mutual cooperation and continued development of the region’s only common network planning and market simulation models used by members to identify critical infrastructure linking emerging wholesale electricity markets throughout the Black Sea region and with Europe.

Established in 2004 by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United States Energy Association (USEA), and the TSOs of Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine, the BSTP provides a sustainable forum for training, network and market analysis, and infrastructure project support and promotion. It has provisioned the TSOs in Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova with essential network planning and market simulation software; provided 20,000 hours of training to Black Sea engineers in network modeling and economic analysis; and adopted more than a half dozen essential planning practices needed to harmonize planning methods in the region with those in Europe.

The project has performed multiple studies recommending transmission investment needed to increase the integration of renewable energy sources. It has estimated the cost and social welfare benefits of new transmission infrastructure linking national electricity markets on a regional basis and, it has recommended network investment needed to improve reliability to attract electricity intensive industrial development. It is currently supporting infrastructure projects linking markets in Georgia and Turkey; Georgia and Romania; and Armenia and Georgia. Its models and the expertise developed by participating engineers are being harnessed in one of the most ambitious projects undertaken since the end of the cold war – enabling Ukraine and Moldova to disconnect from the Russian dominated IPS/UPS synchronous zone and subsequently connect to the European synchronous zone of ENTSO-E.

The BSTP is one of six partnerships supported by USAID, USEA and electric and natural gas utilities to increase regional electricity and natural gas trade, improve electric power distribution system performance and strengthen cyber security in the Europe and Eurasia region.

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