Economic properties of wind power: A European assessment
We investigate the concomitance of intermittent wind powered generation (WPG) with load to assess its system value as the cost of replacing its output, hour by hour, using more intensively thermal technologies. The difference with its actual cost defines a social cost of wind power which is further divided into a technological and an adequacy component. Whereas the former may become negligible once thermal technologies pay for carbon emissions, the latter is a lower bound on WPG structural weakness w.r.t. thermal technologies. We apply our procedure to Germany, Denmark, Spain, France, Portugal and Ireland using hourly load and WPG data over several years. Our empirical findings show that there is a grain of truth in both the pros and the cons of wind power. The system value of WPG varies from three quarters of the equivalent thermal cost of electricity (on a yearly basis) but the incompressible adequacy cost represents a premium over the cost of serving yearly load in a system ranging around one-fifth.
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