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Benefits and cost implications from integrating small flexible nuclear reactors with off-shore wind farms in a virtual power plant


  • Shropshire, David
  • Purvins, Arturs
  • Papaioannou, Ioulia
  • Maschio, Isabella


Nuclear power currently supports the goals of the European Union low-carbon society by being a dependable source of energy, while emitting no CO2. In the future, more flexible nuclear systems could enable wind to achieve a 50% share of the renewable contribution to the energy mix. Small and medium-sized reactors (SMRs) could provide firming power generation to back-up the supply from renewable resources and follow-load. This study involves the hypothetical combination of an off-shore wind farm and a SMR, operated together as a virtual power plant (VPP). Results using wind data from the North Sea indicate that the combination results in 80% less wind power variation to the grid, effectively creating a virtual baseload power plant. This gain comes at the loss of 30% SMR capacity utilization. The research identified that the reduction of 1000MW off-shore wind farm variability was best achieved with 700MW SMRs using 100MW modules. In demand-following mode the VPP could maneuver output to improve synchronization with demand by 60–70% over a wind-only system. Power variability was indifferent to the SMR module size. The VPP could not reduce 100% of the wind variation, as additional balancing measures (e.g., smart grid, storage, and hybrid-nuclear systems) are still needed.

Suggested Citation

  • Shropshire, David & Purvins, Arturs & Papaioannou, Ioulia & Maschio, Isabella, 2012. "Benefits and cost implications from integrating small flexible nuclear reactors with off-shore wind farms in a virtual power plant," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 558-573.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:46:y:2012:i:c:p:558-573
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2012.04.037

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. AfDB AfDB, . "African Statistical Yearbook 2012," African Statistical Yearbook, African Development Bank, number 387.
    2. Denholm, Paul & Sioshansi, Ramteen, 2009. "The value of compressed air energy storage with wind in transmission-constrained electric power systems," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 3149-3158, August.
    3. Loisel, Rodica & Mercier, Arnaud & Gatzen, Christoph & Elms, Nick & Petric, Hrvoje, 2010. "Valuation framework for large scale electricity storage in a case with wind curtailment," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 7323-7337, November.
    4. Pattanariyankool, Sompop & Lave, Lester B., 2010. "Optimizing transmission from distant wind farms," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 2806-2815, June.
    5. Purvins, Arturs & Zubaryeva, Alyona & Llorente, Maria & Tzimas, Evangelos & Mercier, Arnaud, 2011. "Challenges and options for a large wind power uptake by the European electricity system," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 88(5), pages 1461-1469, May.
    6. Unido, 2012. "International Yearbook of Industrial Statistics 2012," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14552.
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    Cited by:

    1. Behnam Zakeri & Samuli Rinne & Sanna Syri, 2015. "Wind Integration into Energy Systems with a High Share of Nuclear Power—What Are the Compromises?," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(4), pages 1-35, March.
    2. Rahmani-Dabbagh, Saeed & Sheikh-El-Eslami, Mohammad Kazem, 2016. "A profit sharing scheme for distributed energy resources integrated into a virtual power plant," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 184(C), pages 313-328.
    3. repec:eee:energy:v:125:y:2017:i:c:p:736-746 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Rowinski, Marcin Karol & White, Timothy John & Zhao, Jiyun, 2015. "Small and Medium sized Reactors (SMR): A review of technology," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 643-656.
    5. repec:eee:appene:v:212:y:2018:i:c:p:498-508 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:gam:jeners:v:10:y:2017:i:12:p:2126-:d:122978 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Kang-Heon Lee & Min-Gil Kim & Jeong Ik Lee & Phill-Seung Lee, 2015. "Recent Advances in Ocean Nuclear Power Plants," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(10), pages 1-23, October.


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