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Assessment of the required share for a stable EU electricity supply until 2050


  • Lise, Wietze
  • van der Laan, Jeroen
  • Nieuwenhout, Frans
  • Rademaekers, Koen


Power system balancing will become increasingly important to secure a reliable European energy supply, as the share of intermittent supply increases (e.g. variable generation from wind and solar PV). This paper shows, in a quantitative way, the limitations of relying exclusively on flexibility in generation as the future shares of intermittent supply increase. Literature and data on intermittent supply and existing scenarios are reviewed. Costs related to increasing shares of intermittent supply are assessed. Quantifiable indicators relevant for electricity systems with a high share of intermittent supply are developed, namely (a) flexible supply (generation units that can quickly change output); (b) balancing need (which measures the needed flexibility of the power system as the difference between peak and off-peak residual demand (net of intermittent supply)). There is an externality of increasing the share of intermittent supply by increasing the power system balancing costs. If the cost of integrating intermittent generation was to be limited to about 25 billion EUR per year, which is an addition of 24% per unit intermittent generation cost, the intermittent supply share cannot reach more than 40% in the European power market. The final choice of an acceptable cost increase will be a political choice.

Suggested Citation

  • Lise, Wietze & van der Laan, Jeroen & Nieuwenhout, Frans & Rademaekers, Koen, 2013. "Assessment of the required share for a stable EU electricity supply until 2050," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 904-913.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:59:y:2013:i:c:p:904-913
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2013.04.006

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stefan Ambec & Claude Crampes, 2010. "Electricity Production with Intermittent Sources of Energy," LERNA Working Papers 10.07.313, LERNA, University of Toulouse.
    2. Ambec, Stefan & Crampes, Claude, 2010. "Electricity Production with Intermittent Sources," IDEI Working Papers 608, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    3. Klessmann, Corinna & Held, Anne & Rathmann, Max & Ragwitz, Mario, 2011. "Status and perspectives of renewable energy policy and deployment in the European Union—What is needed to reach the 2020 targets?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(12), pages 7637-7657.
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    Cited by:

    1. Vinnemeier, Philipp & Wirsum, Manfred & Malpiece, Damien & Bove, Roberto, 2016. "Integration of heat pumps into thermal plants for creation of large-scale electricity storage capacities," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 184(C), pages 506-522.
    2. 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.
    3. repec:eee:renene:v:113:y:2017:i:c:p:176-189 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Barelli, Linda & Ottaviano, Andrea, 2015. "Supercharged gas turbine combined cycle: An improvement in plant flexibility and efficiency," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 615-626.
    5. Gaigalis, Vygandas & Skema, Romualdas, 2014. "Sustainable economy development and transition of fuel and energy in Lithuania after integration into the European Union," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 719-733.
    6. Glachant, Jean-Michel, 2016. "Tacking stock of the EU “Power Target Model”… and steering its future course," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 673-679.
    7. Pierobon, Leonardo & Casati, Emiliano & Casella, Francesco & Haglind, Fredrik & Colonna, Piero, 2014. "Design methodology for flexible energy conversion systems accounting for dynamic performance," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 667-679.
    8. Barelli, L. & Bidini, G. & Ottaviano, A., 2015. "Hydromethane generation through SOE (solid oxide electrolyser): Advantages of H2O–CO2 co-electrolysis," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 90(P1), pages 1180-1191.
    9. Boßmann, Tobias & Eser, Eike Johannes, 2016. "Model-based assessment of demand-response measures—A comprehensive literature review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 1637-1656.
    10. 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.
    11. repec:eee:rensus:v:79:y:2017:i:c:p:646-655 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. repec:eee:energy:v:135:y:2017:i:c:p:598-609 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Gaigalis, Vygandas & Skema, Romualdas, 2015. "Analysis of the fuel and energy transition in Lithuanian industry and its sustainable development in 2005–2013 in compliance with the EU policy and strategy," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 265-279.


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