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Smart grids needed to develop renewable potential

  • 12 years ago (2010-02-22)
  • David Flin
Europe 909 North America 910 Renewables 701

In the EU, electricity grids are included among the low carbon energy technologies assessed as part of the strategy to achieve the energy and climate change policy targets, which include a 20 per cent reduction of CO2 emissions and a 20 per cent share of renewables in overall EU energy consumption by 2020. According to SETIS, if the maximum potential is realised, the electricity grids could avoid up to 30 Mt/year CO2 in 2020 and 60 Mt/year CO2 in 2030 in the EU.

Enlit Africa 2022 (physical)
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Enlit Africa 2022 (physical)

Existing transmission planning methods commonly make use of a worst-case scenario approach: power flow analysis is performed for a small number of cases selected by experienced network planners. With the increased uncertainty and the many assumptions necessary for the analysis, the need to include more combinations of load, generation and international exchange is becoming essential and a probabilistic approach to deal with such uncertainties is needed.

The recent JRC review recommends the following:

  • Transmission planning must change drastically to accommodate market liberalisation and increased integration of wind and other sources of renewable power.
  • Grid expansion should focus on achieving better coordination between Transmission System Operators (TSOs) through integrated strategic planning and cross-border cooperation.
  • Transmission planners should take a smarter approach to integrating “variable” power sources.
  • TSOs should prioritise the emerging challenge of integrating the future transmission system with smart distribution grids.
  • A more harmonised and market-based framework is required to overcome planning and regulatory differences at national level, and to realise the potential synergies between offshore energy projects and cross-border trade in electricity.