A blackout that hit nearly all of Turkey’s 81 provinces at the end of March was caused by a combination of hydro production oversupply, reduced thermal generation and maintenance on transmission lines, a source at the Turkish grid operator TEIAS said on Wednesday.
Mehmet Kara, assistant manager at TEIAS, said the country had grappled with a surge in load because of healthy hydro production in the eastern part of Turkey.
Meanwhile, most of the thermal power plants in the western part of the country were switched off either for planned maintenance or because spot prices had been delivering below Turkish lira 155.00 (€53.64)/MWh, the break-even price for gas-fired generation.
Coincidentally, some of the trunk lines connecting Turkey’s east with its western provinces were in maintenance on 31 March, which meant that TEIAS was unable to flow electricity westwards. This triggered domino-effect shutdowns throughout the system, affecting even Turkey’s interconnection with the EU grid on the Bulgarian and Greek borders.
“We had a trip at one of the lines which led to power swings throughout the system,” he said. “The system was weaker that day because some important lines [connecting the east to the west] were out of service.”
The interconnection was swiftly brought back online and helped TEIAS to restore electricity in the western part and then gradually throughout the system within eight hours of the occurrence, Kara told a press conference in Brussels on Wednesday.
“The interconnection with European neighbours actually helped restore power [in Turkey] after the blackout,” Kara said following the signing of a long-term agreement between TEIAS and the European Network of Transmission System Operators of electricity (ENTSO-E), the body overseeing the EU’s electricity interconnections.
The long-term agreement marks the completion of Turkey’s five-year trial interconnection with ENTSO-E. Aura Sabadus