IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Curtailment of renewable generation: Economic optimality and incentives


  • Klinge Jacobsen, Henrik
  • Schröder, Sascha Thorsten


The loss from curtailing generation based on renewable energy sources is generally seen as an unacceptable solution by the public. The main argument is that it is a loss of green energy and an economic loss to curtail generation with near zero marginal costs. However, this view could lead to overinvestment in grid infrastructure and underinvestment in renewable energy sources. This article argues that some curtailment of fluctuating (variable) generation is optimal. We address the possible contributions to total curtailment from involuntary and voluntary curtailment. The costs of curtailment in terms of lost generation are discussed based on market price and support levels including the rationale for compensating generators for losses. The extent of actual curtailment is illustrated by examples from different global markets. In general, both the value of the curtailed energy and the amount of curtailed energy relative to total fluctuating generation is low but rising. Single generators may be affected considerably if insufficient compensation measures are in place. In the future, optimal curtailment will increase along with an increased share of fluctuating renewable generation. Extending renewable generation comparatively cheaply can be achieved by the installation of additional capacity at offshore locations until optimal curtailment levels are reached.

Suggested Citation

  • Klinge Jacobsen, Henrik & Schröder, Sascha Thorsten, 2012. "Curtailment of renewable generation: Economic optimality and incentives," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 663-675.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:49:y:2012:i:c:p:663-675
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2012.07.004

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Paul Joskow & Jean Tirole, 2005. "Merchant Transmission Investment," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(2), pages 233-264, June.
    2. Skytte, Klaus, 1999. "The regulating power market on the Nordic power exchange Nord Pool: an econometric analysis," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 295-308, August.
    3. Klinge Jacobsen, Henrik & Zvingilaite, Erika, 2010. "Reducing the market impact of large shares of intermittent energy in Denmark," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 3403-3413, July.
    4. Ropenus, Stephanie & Jacobsen, Henrik Klinge & Schröder, Sascha Thorsten, 2011. "Network regulation and support schemes – How policy interactions affect the integration of distributed generation," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 36(7), pages 1949-1956.
    5. Vandezande, Leen & Meeus, Leonardo & Belmans, Ronnie & Saguan, Marcelo & Glachant, Jean-Michel, 2010. "Well-functioning balancing markets: A prerequisite for wind power integration," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 3146-3154, July.
    6. Grohnheit, Poul Erik & Andersen, Frits Møller & Larsen, Helge V., 2011. "Area price and demand response in a market with 25% wind power," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(12), pages 8051-8061.
    7. Nicolosi, Marco, 2011. "The impact of RES-E policy setting on integration effects - A detailed analysis of capacity expansion and dispatch results," MPRA Paper 31835, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Brandstätt, Christine & Brunekreeft, Gert & Jahnke, Katy, 2011. "How to deal with negative power price spikes?--Flexible voluntary curtailment agreements for large-scale integration of wind," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 3732-3740, June.
    9. Vincent Rious & Jean-Michel Glachant & Philippe Dessante, 2010. "Transmission Network Investment as an Anticipation Problem," RSCAS Working Papers 2010/04, European University Institute.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Klinge Jacobsen, Henrik & Pade, Lise Lotte & Schröder, Sascha Thorsten & Kitzing, Lena, 2014. "Cooperation mechanisms to achieve EU renewable targets," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 345-352.
    2. repec:eee:rensus:v:75:y:2017:i:c:p:989-1007 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:gam:jeners:v:11:y:2018:i:1:p:121-:d:125353 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Ehrlich, Lars G. & Klamka, Jonas & Wolf, André, 2015. "The potential of decentralized power-to-heat as a flexibility option for the german electricity system: A microeconomic perspective," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 417-428.
    5. Chaouachi, Aymen & Bompard, Ettore & Fulli, Gianluca & Masera, Marcelo & De Gennaro, Michele & Paffumi, Elena, 2016. "Assessment framework for EV and PV synergies in emerging distribution systems," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 719-728.
    6. Schill, Wolf-Peter, 2014. "Residual Load, Renewable Surplus Generation and Storage Requirements in Germany," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 65-79.
    7. repec:eee:eneeco:v:65:y:2017:i:c:p:458-470 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Kondziella, Hendrik & Bruckner, Thomas, 2016. "Flexibility requirements of renewable energy based electricity systems – a review of research results and methodologies," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 10-22.
    9. Erik Gawel & Alexandra Purkus & Klaas Korte & Paul Lehmann, 2013. "Förderung der Markt- und Systemintegration erneuerbarer Energien: Perspektiven einer instrumentellen Weiterentwicklung," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 82(3), pages 123-136.
    10. Kubik, M.L. & Coker, P.J. & Barlow, J.F., 2015. "Increasing thermal plant flexibility in a high renewables power system," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 102-111.
    11. Brijs, Tom & De Vos, Kristof & De Jonghe, Cedric & Belmans, Ronnie, 2015. "Statistical analysis of negative prices in European balancing markets," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 53-60.
    12. Su, Yufei & Kern, Jordan D. & Characklis, Gregory W., 2017. "The impact of wind power growth and hydrological uncertainty on financial losses from oversupply events in hydropower-dominated systems," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 194(C), pages 172-183.
    13. Anne Held & Tobias Boßmann & Mario Ragwitz & Pablo del Río & Luis Janeiro & Sonja Förster, 2017. "Challenges and appropriate policy portfolios for (almost) mature renewable electricity technologies," Energy & Environment, , vol. 28(1-2), pages 34-53, March.
    14. repec:eee:renene:v:113:y:2017:i:c:p:1580-1588 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Gawel, Erik & Purkus, Alexandra, 2013. "Promoting the market and system integration of renewable energies through premium schemes—A case study of the German market premium," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 599-609.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:49:y:2012:i:c:p:663-675. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.