The USAID Energy Security Project (ESP) trained heat-generating facilities to operate in the electricity market through balancing and aggregated groups

April 19, 2024

In a recent seminar organized by USAID ESP and the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Energy Housing and Utilities Services, energy professionals discussed the use of small- and medium-sized cogeneration units (CGUs) in the electricity market through aggregated groups and balancing groups. It was the fifth and final seminar in the series of training events for a total of 200 CGU operators and other participants.

Opening the seminar, NEURC Commissioner Mr. Oleksandr Formagei noted that maintaining the balance between generation and consumption was key to the stable operation of the energy system. This is particularly important following the recent Russian attacks on the heating and electricity infrastructures. Moreover, it also makes the electricity market attractive for heat-generating companies. Mr. Formagei said that the seminar would help such companies learn to effectively project electricity output and reduce imbalances. “Understanding how to participate in balancing groups and aggregated groups will help a generating company to draw profit and achieve good financial returns,” he added.

USAID/Ukraine Deputy Director of Office of Critical Infrastructure Ms. Kathleen Kirsch noted that the recent massive Russian attacks on the critical infrastructure demonstrated again the importance of distributed generation and cogeneration. USAID ESP procures 91 cogeneration units (CGU) for 31 heat-generating enterprises and two universities. Eighty CGUs have already been distributed across heating companies in 22 oblasts. Ms. Kirsch concluded that distributed generation is a powerful tool to enhance the sustainability of DH systems, support the united energy system of Ukraine, and improve the financial situation of district heating companies.

Together with the Ministry of Infrastructure, Verkhovna Rada Committee on Energy Housing and Utilities Services, the National Energy and Utilities Regulatory Commission, and the State Agency on Energy Efficiency and Energy Saving, USAID ESP seeks to remove the legislative and administrative barriers to the installation and use of CGUs. For instance, last autumn, NEURC undertook unprecedented efforts to significantly improve the legal and regulatory environment, which enabled many district heating companies to effectively use CGUs. For its part, USAID ESP helps heat-generating companies to find better technical solutions and identify needed equipment for distributed generation (cogeneration) projects and offers training on how to participate in the Ukrainian wholesale electricity market.

The fifth seminar evoked a particular interest as the participants discussed the concepts of aggregator and aggregated groups that are new to the Ukrainian market, as well as the imbalance liabilities – one of the most acute issues in the sector. Last June, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine amended some laws on the recovery and green transformation of the Ukrainian energy system, helping aggregators, active consumers, and small distribution system operators participate in the electricity market by following aggregation rules defined by the market.

Note: Aggregation is an activity of an electricity market player bringing together installations for the generation/consumption/storage of electricity with the purpose of buying/selling electricity, and/or providing ancillary services and/or balancing services in the market. The aggregator’s group may contain one or more such installations of up to MW 20 capacity. Aggregation as a licensed activity is an imbalance responsible party in the group and may not supply electricity to customers. These functions may be something to be considered by small-scale generation facilities, for instance small- and medium-sized CHPs, that have already entered or are going to enter the electricity market.