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The role of grid extensions in a cost-efficient transformation of the European electricity system until 2050

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  • Fürsch, Michaela
  • Hagspiel, Simeon
  • Jägemann, Cosima
  • Nagl, Stephan
  • Lindenberger, Dietmar
  • Tröster, Eckehard

Abstract

A strong and intermeshed electricity grid allows the cost-efficient achievement of renewable energy targets by enabling the use of favorable sites and by facilitating the balancing of stochastic infeed from renewables and electricity demand. However, construction of new lines is currently proceeding slowly in Europe. This paper quantifies the benefits of optimal transmission grid extensions for Europe up to 2050 by iterating an investment and dispatch optimization model with a load flow based grid model. We find that large grid extensions, allowing the full exploitation of the most favorable RES-E sites throughout Europe, are beneficial from a least-cost perspective. If the electricity network were to be cost-optimally extended, 228,000km would be built before 2050 (+76% compared to today). Only for sites located furthest from large consumption areas in Central Europe would the value of grid extensions not always outweigh its costs. Furthermore, the capacity of transmission lines connecting favorable RES-E sites with demand centers is cost-optimally dimensioned to almost entirely export all RES-E generation that exceeds local electricity demand. Only in periods with the highest infeed of fluctuating renewables, electricity is stored. When optimal grid extensions are impeded, storage investments are chosen to a larger extent.

Suggested Citation

  • Fürsch, Michaela & Hagspiel, Simeon & Jägemann, Cosima & Nagl, Stephan & Lindenberger, Dietmar & Tröster, Eckehard, 2013. "The role of grid extensions in a cost-efficient transformation of the European electricity system until 2050," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 642-652.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:appene:v:104:y:2013:i:c:p:642-652
    DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2012.11.050
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Renewable energy; GHG reduction; Transmission grid; Power system optimization;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques
    • Q40 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - General
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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