Electricity from renewables fed into the grid will this year be cut back by an estimated 6 to 8 per cent, to ensure stability of the system, the Transmission System Operator (TSO) told parliament on Monday.

Stavros Stavrianos, executive director at the TSO, was speaking to MPs reviewing the organisation’s budget for 2023.

He explained that whenever electricity demand ranges at 500 to 600 megawatts, cutbacks in power generated from renewables are necessary to ensure the whole system can work safely.

Because the system as it’s currently set up is “inflexible” – it lacks the facility to store energy – it doesn’t allow for the absorption of all the power produced through renewable sources.

At any given time, in order for the transmission system to operate smoothly, it needs to maintain a minimum number of energy units generated from conventional means – meaning fossil fuels.

When demand is high, mostly during summer months, the TSO do not cut back on electricity from renewables. However they do so when demand is at lower levels – in the autumn and spring.

“If, say, right now demand comes to 500 megawatts, and 250 megawatts must be generated from conventional units, that leaves space for only 250 megawatts from renewables.”

Stavrianos said that currently some 400 megawatts are produced from photovoltaics, and another 157 megawatts from wind parks.

The official said they’ve put in a request to the energy ministry to create an energy storage system aimed at ensuring stability of the system due to the high intermittency of energy generation from renewables.