Conference Paper

Influence of storage technologies' cost development on the economics of power transmission grids

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Abstract

Grid integration for renewable energy (RE) is in many studies observed as the major option to increase energy system reliability and decrease costs: overflows in the grid can support the system in case of component failure and decrease the need for balancing capacities. Energy transmission grids additionally increase capacity utilisation and efficiency by smoothing of total demand, especially for geographically wide expanded grids. Wherefore it had been often assumed that a development of close to 100% RE systems may be only possible with the installation of extended power grids as was discussed in the Desertec or Gobitec vision and other comparable centralised RE approaches. In this work impacts of the different levels of high voltage direct current (HVDC) grid integration on cost optimized 100% RE system were researched for the example of Northeast Asia. Three grid scenarios were applied for the area: region-wide open trade, where the energy system integration happens only inside one region; country-wide open trade, where a HVDC transmission grid connects regions inside one country; and area-wide open trade scenario, where all the countries are interconnected. These scenarios were simulated using the LUT energy system model for the two cost years 2020 and 2030. The optimized energy system included solar photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar thermal power, wind onshore, hydropower, geothermal energy and biomass as energy sources. The storage options are batteries, thermal energy storage, pumped hydro storage, adiabatic compressed air energy storage (A-CAES) and gas storage including power-togas. It was found, that grid integration leads to a significant decrease of total levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) for the years 2020 and 2030: LCOE for the area-wide scenario was 8% lower than the region-wide scenario for the year 2020 and 5% lower for year 2030. However, the cost spread for 2030 is 50% lower (3 €/MWh vs 6 €/MWh) because of expected storage cost development and consequently different storage and grid utilisation. The optimal storage structure for both years is 20% of long-term storage and 80% of short to mid-term storage. Short-term storage technologies, Li-ion batteries and PHS are insignificant for the Northeast Asian case. The cost development of storage technologies results in increased storage and reduced grid supply share of 16% to 22% and 14% to 9% for the year 2020 and 2030, respectively, i.e. reduced storage costs lead to a reduced relevance of long distance grid integration. The total share of the flexible power sources stays stable for both cost years at around 30%. Finally, the lower cost spread for the year 2030 makes it possible in some cases to take a transformation towards 100% RE into account without massive grid installations.

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... Due to long distances and local storage technologies being more cost-competitive, low-cost RE from Australia cannot be exported to high demand centers in Indonesia and further into China due to high transmission costs. The increasing cost competitiveness of storage compared to grids had already been found for Northeast Asia [47]. However, according to research done by Taggart et al. [4,18], large scale connectivity of different regions would cancel out the need for large-scale storage technologies, to which the authors of this research agree to some extent, since such an effect can be observed in the decrease in need for storage technologies from the region-wide to the area-wide scenario. ...
... East Asia and EuropeEurasiaMENA show the same characteristic, that a deep integration from a region-wide to an area-wide integration within a region is highly beneficial in the range of 5%-16%, since this had been found for all five major regions involved: Northeast Asia (11%) [23], Southeast Asia (5%) [22], Europe (11%) [49], Eurasia (16%) [50], and MENA (10%) [51]), but not for an integration of two neighboring major regions. Very long power lines between 1500 and 2000 km or more do not generate financial benefits, as found so far for Northeast Asia [47]. Other limiting factors include an inability to integrate the vast wind resource potential of Northwest Russia for Europe [52], utilize excellent solar and wind resources in the Maghreb region for synthetic fuel production [53], and connect Australia to East Asia, as shown in this article. ...
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... Due to long distances and local storage technologies being more cost-competitive, low-cost RE from Australia cannot be exported to high demand centers in Indonesia and further into China due to high transmission costs. The increasing cost competitiveness of storage compared to grids had already been found for Northeast Asia [47]. However, according to research done by Taggart et al. [4,18], large scale connectivity of different regions would cancel out the need for large-scale storage technologies, to which the authors of this research agree to some extent, since such an effect can be observed in the decrease in need for storage technologies from the region-wide to the area-wide scenario. ...
... East Asia and EuropeEurasiaMENA show the same characteristic, that a deep integration from a region-wide to an area-wide integration within a region is highly beneficial in the range of 5%-16%, since this had been found for all five major regions involved: Northeast Asia (11%) [23], Southeast Asia (5%) [22], Europe (11%) [49], Eurasia (16%) [50], and MENA (10%) [51]), but not for an integration of two neighboring major regions. Very long power lines between 1500 and 2000 km or more do not generate financial benefits, as found so far for Northeast Asia [47]. Other limiting factors include an inability to integrate the vast wind resource potential of Northwest Russia for Europe [52], utilize excellent solar and wind resources in the Maghreb region for synthetic fuel production [53], and connect Australia to East Asia, as shown in this article. ...
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... Solar PV electricity is typically not traded among the sub-regions, because the solar resource is quite evenly distributed and roughly accessible in the same hours. In addition, transmission over many thousands of kilometres has been found to be not economical attractive, mainly because of the cost competitiveness of local storage [30,40,45,78]. ...
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... The electricity trading among the sub-regions is in the global average about 15% of the total demand in the integrated scenario (and similar in the area-wide scenario), which implies that the 100% RE system solution shows a strong decentral distributed structure. Solar PV electricity is typically not traded among the sub-regions, since the solar resource is quite evenly distributed and roughly accessible in the same hours and transmission over many thousands of kilometres has been found to be not economical attractive, mainly due to the cost competitiveness of local storage [44,45,30,72]. ...
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Thesis
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Presentation
Presentation at the LUT Doctorial School Conference in Lappeenranta at December 10, 2015.
Conference Paper
Increasing ecological problems provoked by human activities, including the fossil fuel based energy sector, emerge the development of a renewable energy (RE) based system as the way to stop pollution and global warming but also to reduce total energy system cost. Small population density and availability of various types of RE resources in Eurasian regions including solar, wind, hydro, biomass and geothermal energy resources enables the very promising project of building a Super Grid connecting different Eurasian regions' energy resources to reach synergy effects and make a 100% RE supply possible. For every sub-region it is defined a cost-optimal distributed and centralized mix of energy technologies and storage options, optimal capacities and hourly generation. Charge and discharge profiles of storages are computed for regions interconnected by high-voltage direct current (HVDC) power lines. System cost and levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for each sub-region are computed. The results show that a 100% RE-based system is lower in cost than nuclear and fossil carbon capture and storage (CCS) alternatives.
Conference Paper
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Further development of the North-East Asian energy system is at a crossroads due to severe limitations of the current conventional energy based system. For North-East Asia it is proposed that the excellent solar and wind resources of the Gobi desert could enable the transformation towards a 100% renewable energy system. An hourly resolved model describes an energy system for North-East Asia, subdivided into 14 regions interconnected by high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission grids. Simulations are made for highly centralized, decentralized and countrywide grids scenarios. The results for total system levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) are 0.065 and 0.081 €/(kW&h) for the centralized and decentralized approaches for 2030 assumptions. The presented results for 100% renewable resources-based energy systems are lower in LCOE by about 30–40% than recent findings in Europe for conventional alternatives. This research clearly indicates that a 100% renewable resources based energy system is THE real policy option.
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This study demonstrates – based on a dynamical simulation of a global, decentralized 100% renewable electricity supply scenario – that a global climate-neutral electricity supply based on the volatile energy sources photovoltaics (PV), wind energy (onshore) and concentrated solar power (CSP) is feasible at decent cost. A central ingredient of this study is a sophisticated model for the hourly electric load demand in >160 countries. To guarantee matching of load demand in each hour, the volatile primary energy sources are complemented by three electricity storage options: batteries, high-temperature thermal energy storage coupled with steam turbine, and renewable power methane (generated via the Power to Gas process) which is reconverted to electricity in gas turbines. The study determines – on a global grid with 1°x1° resolution – the required power plant and storage capacities as well as the hourly dispatch for a 100% renewable electricity supply under the constraint of minimized total system cost (LCOE). Aggregating the results on a national level results in an levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) range of 80-200 EUR/MWh (on a projected cost basis for the year 2020) in this very decentralized approach. As a global average, 142 EUR/MWh are found. Due to the restricted number of technologies considered here, this represents an upper limit for the electricity cost in a fully renewable electricity supply.
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