60% grid integration 'by 2030'
Study by DNV GL identifies hurdles across Europe, suggests solutions
It is feasible to target integration of some 60% renewables generation into the European electricity system by 2030, according to a study by DNV GL.
However, the research carried out for the European Commission adds that this will require an extensive expansion of infrastructure, including transmission and distribution networks as well as conventional backup generation.
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DNV GL worked with Imperial College London and Nera Economic Consulting to study the impact of renewables on distribution grids both locally and across regions within Europe. The team found challenges can be mitigated by a number of technical and regulatory measures.
Research suggests the need for expansion depends on the different structures of European distribution grids as well as the mix of distributed generation technologies in individual countries.
The analysis also shows measures including smart grid technologies can be used to minimise the need for distribution expansion. These include “active voltage control by distribution networks and decentralised generators, a selective use of decentralised energy storage, or a limited restriction of solar PV to avoid excessive peaks of decentralised generation”.
Demand response is highlighted as a “particularly promising measure to reduce costs” and the study also shows these technical measures can be supplemented by regulatory and market-based instruments.
These may facilitate the grid integration of renewables by “incentivising a parallel expansion of renewable generation and network infrastructures, promoting a balanced distribution of decentralised generation and stimulating the development and use of innovative technologies”.
“The research findings present a positive image of the role renewable energy sources can play in keeping with the objectives of the EU’s Energy Roadmap 2050,” said DNV GL head of section energy markets and report project manager Christian Hewicker.
“However, our analysis suggests that there are a number of technical, regulatory and market-based measures that should be used to facilitate the integration of renewable energy sources while keeping the need for additional, costly infrastructure to a minimum.”
The full study, Integration of Renewable Energy in Europe, is available here.
Image: there are challenges to the integration of renewables on European grid systems (National Grid)