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The economics of storage, transmission and drought: integrating variable wind power into spatially separated electricity grids

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  • Scorah, Hugh
  • Sopinka, Amy
  • van Kooten, G. Cornelis

Abstract

To mitigate the high variability of wind and make it a more viable renewable energy source, observers recommend greater integration of spatially-separated electrical grids, with high transmission lines linking load centers, scattered wind farms and hydro storage sites. In this study, we examine the economics of integrating large-scale wind energy into a grid characterized by fossil fuel thermal generation (Alberta) that is only weakly linked to one characterized by hydroelectric assets and the ability to store power behind hydro dams (British Columbia). We use a mathematical programming model to investigate the impact of increasing the capacity of the transmission link between the two disparate grids, which has not been done previously, and thereby shedding light on the issue of greater grid integration as a means of addressing intermittent renewable power. We find that, as wind capacity increases, costs of reducing CO2 emissions fall with increased transmission capacity between the grids, although this does not hold in all cases. Costs of reducing CO2 emissions are lowest during periods of drought. Over all scenarios, emission reduction costs vary between $20 and $60/t of CO2.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Economics.

Volume (Year): 34 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 536-541

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:34:y:2012:i:2:p:536-541

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eneco

Related research

Keywords: Wind power; Carbon costs; Electrical grids; Mathematical programming;

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Cited by:
  1. Andreas Schröder & Maximilian Bracke, 2012. "Integrated Electricity Generation Expansion and Transmission Capacity Planning: An Application to the Central European Region," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1250, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  2. Sopinka, Amy & Cornelis van Kooten, G. & Wong, Linda, 2013. "Reconciling self-sufficiency and renewable energy targets in a hydro dominated system: The view from British Columbia," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 223-229.
  3. Doorman, Gerard L. & Frøystad, Dag Martin, 2013. "The economic impacts of a submarine HVDC interconnection between Norway and Great Britain," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 334-344.
  4. G. Cornelis van Kooten, 2012. "Natural Gas, Wind and Nuclear Options for Generating Electricity in a Carbon Constrained World," Working Papers 2012-01, University of Victoria, Department of Economics, Resource Economics and Policy Analysis Research Group.
  5. Timilsina, Govinda R. & Cornelis van Kooten, G. & Narbel, Patrick A., 2013. "Global wind power development: Economics and policies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 642-652.

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