#2 – LOOKING AT THE “RENEWABLES SECTOR” TODAY

2.1: What has the “renewables (RES) sector” changed over the last 10 years?

RES has already increased their share from 26% of total power capacity in 2005 to 47% in 2017. By 2017, the total RES capacity installed in the EU was 455 GW, 169 GW was in wind and 107 GW in PV, both accounting for 29.5% of the EU power mix.

 

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2.2: Why is energy transition an irreversible process in most countries?

As far as the EU power system is concerned, the energy transition to RES is today consistently seen an irreversible process. It evolved from a timid policy-driven process to a mainstream investment that will have substantial impact on the economy of the next decades. Europe is certainly going for green growth.

 

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2.3: What would happen if the intermittent renewable energy became a main source of power generation?

Electricity generation from intermittent RE sources (wind, PV) fluctuate over time due to the varying availability of wind and sunshine. This poses a challenge to the power system. Even improved operations and system-friendly intermittent deployment practices might be insufficient to manage high shares of VRE in the long term. Also, the variability of intermittent generation and other adverse effects can lead to a drop in system value.

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2.4: What would be the consequences of maintaining an imbalance between manageable and intermittent generation?

The increasing share of variable renewable generation is fostering policy makers and regulators to reconsider power market designs and system planning and operation. The more installed capacity in intermittent generation, the higher the probability to face such an imbalance between supply and demand. For covering the afternoon-evening peak, the penetration of intermittent generation in such systems needs to be backed by fossil-fuel plants – with a large share of combined cycles.

In short, policy makers, regulators and power system operators around the world must adjust and ensure no interruption to the continuous transition to renewable systems while promoting the growth in variable renewable power. It is essential to pursue an efficient combination of measures.

 

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2.5: Why does it take long to understand this at EU political level ?

It is because that RES in general is often not seen as a tool for its own system integration. Policy priorities during the early days of VRE (wind, PV) deployment were simply not focused on system integration. Instead, past priorities could be summarised as maximising deployment as quickly as possible and reducing the LCOE as rapidly as possible. However, this approach is not sufficient at higher shares of VRE. Innovative approaches are needed to trigger advanced deployment and unlock the contribution of manageable VRE technology to facilitating its own integration.

2.6: Why is the System Value not considered in energy policy frameworks generally?

It is because mechanisms are needed to provide sufficient long-term revenue certainty to investors calculating the precise system value can be challenging and the current and future SV will differ.

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2.7: What are the verified technical and economic impacts in countries that launched a STE deployment program?

  • The massive increase of the share of intermittent electricity generation is due to the fact that in most of the power systems, additional generation is auctioned so as to secure a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA). But in countries without auction practice in such cases, generation turns to be remunerated based on the marginal cost of the last offer matching the actual demand. In turn, this results from the fact that:
  • there is no repercussion on the generation units of the costs triggered by the necessary adjustments of system services to the needs (for balancing);
  • for the purposes of the “energy transition”, a reasonable priority of dispatch was given to renewable energies.

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What has the “renewables (RES) sector” changed over the last 10 years?


 

 

Why is energy transition an irreversible process in most countries?


What would happen if the intermittent renewable energy became a main source of power generation?


What would be the consequences of maintaining an imbalance between manageable and intermittent generation?


This has three concomitant effects:

[1] Source: http://aip.scitation.org/doi/abs/10.1063/1.4949251

Why is the System Value not considered in energy policy frameworks generally?


[1] System value (SV) is defined as the net benefit arising from the addition of a given power generation technology, a look beyond costs/LCOE.

[2]  http://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/Next_Generation_Windand_Solar_PowerFrom_Cost_to_ValueFull_Report.pdf

 

What are the verified technical and economic impacts in countries that launched a STE deployment program?


Spain: http://www.solarpaces.org/wp-content/uploads/protermo_solar_21x21_inglesc.pdf