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Flexibility in Europe's power sector - an additional requirement or an automatic complement?

  • Bertsch, Joachim
  • Growitsch, Christian
  • Lorenczik, Stefan
  • Nagl, Stephan

The EU member states have declared to strongly increase the share of Renewable Energy Sources in the next decades. Given a large deployment of wind and solar capacities as well as limited cost-efficient storage technologies, this has two major impacts on electricity systems. First, the electricity system has to be flexible enough to cope with the volatile RES-E generation i.e. ramp up supply or ramp down demand on short notice. Second, sufficient back-up capacities are needed for times with low feed-in from wind and solar capacities. The provision of both back-up capacity has been intensively discussed in the previous literature of recent years (for instance Cramton and Stoft, 2008 and Joskow, 2008). In addition, Lamadrid et al (2011) argue that with increasing volatility, incentives to invest in flexible resources should be implemented in market design. However, they did not have a look at the dynamic view in an integrated analysis necessary to to answer the questions of how an electricity system can adapt to an increasing share of renewables. This paper therefore analyses the flexibility requirements of the future European electricity system and the policy implications for market design with a system-economic dynamic approach. For this purpose, we simulate the development of the European electricity markets up to 2050 by using a linear investment and dispatch optimization model. Flexibility requirements are implemented in the model via constraints for ramping and provision of balancing power. We find that although an increase of fluctuating renewables has a tremendous impact on volatility and therefore flexibility requirements, the main trigger for investments into flexible conventional capacity are the achievable full load hours rather than ramping capabilities. Therefore any market design with investment incentives of achievable full load hours does not need additional incentives for flexibility.

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Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association in its series Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order with number 79944.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc13:79944
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.socialpolitik.org/
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  1. Nagl, Stephan & Fürsch, Michaela & Jägemann, Cosima & Bettzüge, Marc Oliver, 2011. "The economic value of storage in renewable power systems - the case of thermal energy storage in concentrating solar plants," EWI Working Papers 2011-8, Energiewirtschaftliches Institut an der Universitaet zu Koeln.
  2. Denholm, Paul & Hand, Maureen, 2011. "Grid flexibility and storage required to achieve very high penetration of variable renewable electricity," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 1817-1830, March.
  3. Joskow, Paul L., 2008. "Capacity payments in imperfect electricity markets: Need and design," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 159-170, September.
  4. Fürsch, Michaela & Hagspiel, Simeon & Jägemann, Cosima & Nagl, Stephan & Lindenberger, Dietmar & Tröster, Eckehard, 2012. "The role of grid extensions in a cost-efficient transformation of the European electricity system until 2050," EWI Working Papers 2012-4, Energiewirtschaftliches Institut an der Universitaet zu Koeln.
  5. Möst, Dominik & Fichtner, Wolf, 2010. "Renewable energy sources in European energy supply and interactions with emission trading," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 2898-2910, June.
  6. Richter, Jan, 2011. "DIMENSION - A Dispatch and Investment Model for European Electricity Markets," EWI Working Papers 2011-3, Energiewirtschaftliches Institut an der Universitaet zu Koeln.
  7. Peter Cramton & Steven Stoft, 2008. "Forward Reliability Markets: Less Risk, Less Market Power, More Efficiency," Papers of Peter Cramton 08frm, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 2008.
  8. Nicolosi, Marco, 2010. "Wind power integration and power system flexibility-An empirical analysis of extreme events in Germany under the new negative price regime," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 7257-7268, November.
  9. Jägemann, Cosima & Fürsch, Michaela & Hagspiel, Simeon & Nagl, Stephan, 2013. "Decarbonizing Europe's power sector by 2050 — Analyzing the economic implications of alternative decarbonization pathways," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 622-636.
  10. De Jonghe, Cedric & Delarue, Erik & Belmans, Ronnie & D'haeseleer, William, 2011. "Determining optimal electricity technology mix with high level of wind power penetration," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 88(6), pages 2231-2238, June.
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