The impact of climatic extreme events on the feasibility of fully renewable power systems: a case study for Sweden

Höltinger, S., Mikovits, C., Schmidt, J., Baumgartner, J., Arheimer, B., Lindström, G., & Wetterlund, E. (2019). The impact of climatic extreme events on the feasibility of fully renewable power systems: a case study for Sweden. Energy 178 695-713. 10.1016/

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Long term time series of variable renewable energy (VRE) generation and electricity demand (load) provide important insights into the feasibility of fully renewable power systems. The coverage of energy statistics is usually too short or the temporal resolution too low to study effects related to interannual variability or the impact of climatic extreme events. We use time series simulated from climate data to assess the frequency, duration, and magnitude of extreme residual load events of two fully renewable power scenarios with a share of VRE generation (wind and solar PV) of about 50% for the case of Sweden. We define residual load as load – wind – PV – nuclear generation. Extreme residual load events are events that exceed the balancing or ramping capacities of the current power system. For our analysis, we use 29 years of simulated river runoff and wind and PV generation. Hourly load is derived from MERRA reanalysis temperature data by applying statistical models. Those time series are used along with historic capacity and ramping restrictions of hydro and thermal power plants in an optimization model to minimize extreme residual load events. Our analysis shows that even highly flexible power systems, as the Swedish one, are affected by climatic extreme events if they increase their VRE shares. Replacing current nuclear power capacities by wind power results on average in three extreme residual load events per year that exceed the current power system’s flexibility. Additional PV generation capacities instead of wind increase the number of extreme residual load events by about 4 %, as most events occur during the winter month when solar generation is close to zero and thus not able to counterbalance low wind events. Contrarily, overproduction and the need to curtail VRE generation become more pressing with higher shares of PV. In the discussion we highlight measures that could provide additional balancing capabilities to cope with the more frequent and severe residual load events in a fully renewable power system with high shares of VRE generation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: High share of renewables; Extreme Events; Reanalysis data; Sweden; Optimization; Simulation
Research Programs: Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2019 06:46
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:31

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