Renewables at >50% in European grids

The overall aim of the EU-SysFlex project is to provide a roadmap for Europe in meeting the challenge of integrating 50% renewables by 2030.

Europe has ambitious plans to become greener and more decarbonized by increasing levels of renewable energy and implementing energy efficiency measures. Today, electrical energy accounts for approximately 20% of energy consumption in Europe and is predicted to rise to 40% by 2050. Further, in 2030, it is expected that at least 50% of the European electricity system will comprise of renewable energy sources (RES).

As a result of this, the electricity supply will become more variable creating pressures and technical challenges not previously seen in the pan-European electrical system.

The solution is to improve flexibility and system services. Flexibility: More than ever there is today the possibility of incorporating large amounts of low-cost, zero-emitting power resources to the overall electricity grid in an extremely efficient manner. In order to fully utilize the potential of these technologies, system operators need to develop new tools and market structures in order to balance a dynamic and reliable supply and demand of the electric grid – a flexible electric grid. Although this flexibility to a certain extend is already in place in order to meet variable demand in electricity the increasing variability and ramping created by the RES introduces new challenges and visualisation of the importance of a flexible system. This also introduces the need for conventional generation and hydropower plants to run with improved operational practices in order to provide a flexible flow of the baseload power to address the increased variability and uncertainty created on the system with the large-scale integration of RES.

System services: The availability of information technology and advanced power electronics have today given grid operators insight into short time demand and variability as well as the control over power flows. For systems to operate securely and efficiently while at the same time facilitating higher levels of renewable energy the grid operators are working to establish the correct structure and to obtain a range of services from as wide a pool of generators and market participants as possible. Analyzing the costs and benefits of enhancing flexibility from conventional generation as well as developing financial incentives for better plant performance is a critical step for power system planners and operators. In the end the overarching goal is to create savings for the consumer and an increase in the levels of renewable energy at any given time.

Five objectives of EU-SysFlex

The EU-funded project aims to identify the challenges and long-term needs as well as the technical scarcities of the future electrical power system, arising from the integration of these high levels of renewable energy sources (RES). This will include providing practical improvements across all system sectors and considering a long-term roadmap of actions to facilitate the large-scale integration of new technologies and capabilities.

To achieve the overall EU-SysFlex goal the project has set forward the following five objectives:

  1. To characterize the Technical scarcities of the EU system for scenarios with at least 50% RES 2030 to define the services required by the transmission system operator (TSO) to address these scarcities and develop the needed flexibilities
  2. To provide recommendations for enhancing the market and regulation framework to enable an efficient and effective procurement of flexibility services.
  3. To increase the flexibility of the future European system by developing the capability to provide system services required to integrate high levels of (RES)
  4. To provide tools and procedures to support TSOs with the transition from system services provided mainly by conventional resources to the massive integration of RES enabled by new services and resources
  5. To develop a flexibility roadmap to remove and overcome the technical, regulatory, communication or system operator issues that limit the full benefit of each of the solutions developed and demonstrated

European citizens at the core of transition

Overall the electricity industry is undoubtedly in a period of transition. In the last decade alone there has been wide-scale integration of renewables into the system – the emergence and rapid growth of the demand response sector and the development of ever more sophisticated electricity markets. It is envisaged that the future increase in the portfolio of renewable energy will largely be based on wind, solar photovoltaic energy and supplemented by energy storage. In parallel, it is predicted that electricity consumption will greatly increase due to the electrification of transport, heat, and smart-home development, creating further challenges not previously experienced by power system operators.

In societal terms, the project will contribute to achieve society expectations for a resilient and secure European power system, with the European citizens at its core taking ownership of the energy transition. For the consumers this will lead to exciting new possibilities in their daily day routine with the ability to actively participate in the market. Consumers will benefit from these new technologies through lower energy bills, as well as their own and society’s reduced carbon footprint.

Failing to meet the required long-term flexibility and system services will undermine Europe’s ability to enable the cost-effective transformation of the electrical system and generate additional costs which in the end will be borne by the final consumers. Thus, it is of uttermost importance that the energy providers across Europe are at the forefront of customer demands. Identifying the long-term pan-European power system needs and making sure to provide flexibility of the system in order to carry the required load of sustainable energy is an important first step to deliver on the EU energy policy objectives. EU-SysFlex will deliver a first set of detailed technical analyses to support a high renewables future on the pan-European power system with the outcome of the EU-Sysflex project aimed to inform the development of new grid codes and policy making, including the next clean energy package.

Thus, the overall aim of the EU-SysFlex project is to provide a roadmap for Europe in meeting the challenge of integrating 50% renewables by 2030 and in the context of a transformed energy environment and vision of a decarbonised Europe by 2050 while maintaining a level of resilience and affordability that society has come to expect of the electricity network.

For further information please visit EU-SysFlex at www.eusysflex.com and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

Written by EirGrid

 

 

Disclaimer: blog entries reflect individual views of the author(s) that may not reflect official positions or communication of the project / project consortium.

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