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Ensuring renewables’ reliability

Nicholas Newman Eniday July 2017
renewable energy and smart grid technology

As renewable energy becomes cost-competitive with conventional power sources, its market share has grown from 22 percent in 2012 to 29 percent in 2040 worldwide. However, for renewables to truly close the gap between present capacity and potential, the challenge of intermittency must be addressed. Here are listed several ways to ensure renewables reliablity …

Grid Solutions

Utilities have produced a variety of mechanisms for improving the reliability of renewables. These include the use of smart grids, interconnectors, peaking plants, energy storage and hybrid power plants. For many, storing clean energy power is the holy grail of the green energy revolution. However, high operating costs and limited storage capability of current battery equipment are handicapping this process. Smart grid technologies are aiding grid operators to match ever-changing output with demand in real time. A range of technologies is being used including improvements in weather forecasting and installation of smart meters. Electricity grid interconnectors, which connect local and national power grids, provide another option. The British and Norwegian power grids are planning to build a 1400 MW North Sea Link interconnector across the North Sea.

Power generation

Utilities are using gas and diesel fueled peaking plants known as gensets to offer standby power when renewables supplies are scarce. A case in point is UK Power Reserve Ltd, which operates 40 small gensets with a total output of 693 MW, supplies the UK grid network. Hybrid power plants use a range of electricity generating technologies, designed to meet a wide spectrum of energy needs. For satisfying grid power needs at peak times, the proposed joint Pumped Hydro Storage (PHS) with solar and wind project in Prosper-Haniel in Germany provides an interesting example. Instead of locating the planned PHS scheme in a mountainous region like the Alps, the project sponsors have chosen a closed coal mine. The scheme consists of two lakes; one lake is located on the surface and the other some 1,200 meters below ground. In addition, a shaft links both lakes to a joint power plant and pump facility. To produce electricity, a million cubic meters of water drops down the shaft powering a turbine. Read more https://www.eniday.com/en/sparks_en/ensuring-renewables-reliability/

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