Physical sciences, Earth sciences

Expanding network transmission sustainably

Renewable energy resources (RES) such as wind, solar, hydro, geothermal and biomass can significantly offset the world's demand for fossil fuel-derived electricity. A new EU study points the way to expansion of current networks to efficiently integrate RES.

Increasing the contribution of RES-derived electricity would provide greater energy security by removing geographical and political barriers to fossil fuels. It would also significantly enhance sustainability and reduce environmental impact. However, integrating RES electricity systems into the existing electricity grid poses a formidable challenge.

Scientists evaluated a promising integration model with work on the EU-funded project RES GRID INTEGRATION. The team conducted comprehensive studies and analyses regarding regulation and expansion of transmission networks in the context of large-scale RES-system integration.

RES-specific issues require special consideration and impact on decisions to invest. For example, dispatch in RES systems is more frequent and fluctuating than in conventional electricity systems. In addition, substituting conventional energy with RES has an effect on the rents from congestion in the network.

Scientists evaluated the recently developed Hogan-Rosellon-Vogelsang (HRV) incentive mechanism for transmission expansion which has been gaining support. It combines merchant and regulatory structure via price caps and exploits point-to-point transactions or financial transmission rights (FTRs). An FTR is a market incentive, essentially the right to collect the price difference arising from not using physical transmission rights or property in order for the entire distribution network to run more efficiently.

RES GRID INTEGRATION combined theoretical studies of regulation considerations with evaluation of practical applications to different energy systems. Researchers evaluated whether or not the variability and unpredictability associated with RES affected transmission expansion decisions within the HRV framework or any other regulatory system. They then derived policy recommendations to facilitate efficient and effective integration of RES for the benefit of all concerned.

As the world turns toward RES as an important route to energy security and sustainability, complicated technical and financial challenges arise from the unique characteristics of related electricity production technologies. The RES GRID INTEGRATION project has provided an important foundation for policy makers for the most expedient ways to expand transmission networks of the future.

last modification: 2015-03-03 14:49:39

Study in Poland