Large Scale Integration of Renewable Energy

With a contribution by Willet Kempton

Associate Professor, College of Marine and Earth Studies, University of Delaware

The large-scale integration of renewable energy sources into existing energy systems must meet the challenge of coordinating fluctuating and intermittent renewable energy productions with the rest of the energy system. Meeting this challenge is essential, especially with regard to electricity production, since electricity systems depend on an exact balance between demand and supply at any time. Given the nature of photovoltaic (PV), wind, wave, and tidal power, little can be gained by regulating the renewable source itself. Large hydropower producers are an exception, since such units are typically well suited for electricity balancing. However, in general, the possibilities of achieving a suitable integration are to be found in the surrounding supply system that is, in power and CHP stations. The regulation in supply may be facilitated by flexible demands for example, heat pumps, consumers' demand, and electric boilers. Moreover, the integration can be helped by different energy storage technologies.

This chapter examines and deduces the essence from a series of studies in which the EnergyPLAN model has been applied to the analysis of large-scale integration of renewable energy sources (RES) into the Danish energy system. At present, the Danish energy system already has a relatively high share of renewable energy and is therefore suitable for the analysis of further large-scale integration. The studies conducted address the integration of RES into future energy systems. The analyses are based on official projections of the Danish energy system made by the Danish Energy Authority in 2001. The projections are presented in the beginning of this chapter.

In addition to the presentation of these studies, the chapter presents a method for comparing different energy systems in terms of their ability to integrate RES on a large scale. The question in focus is how to design energy systems with a high capability of utilizing intermittent RES, also considering the problem that the fluctuations and intermittence of, for example, wind power differ from one year to another. Such a challenge is met by analyzing and illustrating different energy systems in so-called excess electricity diagrams. In these

© 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-375028-0.00005-4

diagrams, a curve represents the system in all of the years, regardless of the fact that the fluctuations of RES differ from one year to another.

A number of studies of large-scale integration of RES are presented and, finally, some reflections and conclusions sum up the chapter with regard to the methodologies and principles as well as the technical measures involved. This leads to a series of recommendations concerning the most feasible technical measures, how to combine the measures, and when to use them considering the share of RES in the system.

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