EURECA - Effects of utilisation in real-time on electricity capacity assessments

EURECA, the Effects of Utilisation in Real-time on Electricity Capacity Assessments, investigates the operating regimes of thermal power plants in future generation portfolios with large amounts of variable renewable energy sources (VRE). The impacts of additional VRE and energy storage capacity on the operating profiles and flexibility of thermal power plans are investigated using a unit commitment and energy storage optimisation model.

Large-scale weather-variable renewable energy sources (VRE), such as wind, have near-zero variable costs, limited predictability, locational dependency, and an inability to provide upward dispatch. The increasing proportion of price-insensitive and non-synchronous VRE generation capacity will cause fundamental and structural changes to power plant operating patterns. High variable cost thermal power plants will be displaced during increasingly frequent low net load periods, reducing the proportion of synchronised generation capacity, and therefore increasing the flexibility requirements of residual power plants.

Low carbon generation capacity, such as nuclear and/or CO2 capture and storage (CCS), in certain jurisdictions, may be designed/financed to be technically/commercially inflexible. Future generation portfolios must manage uncertainty and variability over all operational timescales, maintain system reliability and generation adequacy requirements, and provide low carbon electricity at reasonable cost.

A high spatial- and temporal-resolution wind reanalysis dataset, developed at the University of Edinburgh at the Institute for Energy Systems, is used to construct internally consistent wind capacity scenarios to represent the expected spatial distribution of wind turbines in future UK energy scenarios. Consistent weather-corrected electricity demand input data over the same optimisation time horizon is used to uphold the complex and dynamic demand-wind relationship.

This project develops an advanced unit commitment and Monte Carlo based energy storage optimisation model, with high spatial- and temporal-resolution onshore and offshore wind generation input data for the UK. A temporally-explicit variability assessment and characterisation of net demand is performed over a range of operation timescales, highlighting the increasing requirement for flexible and price-sensitive generation in future wind-based power systems.

The impacts of interannual wind variability on operating regimes, and start-up and flexibility requirements is evaluated at full 8760 hour resolution for an illustrative generation portfolio. This electricity system dispatch model illustrates high-resolution and non-linear impacts of increased wind generation and suggests indicative performance characteristics for future generation portfolios in the UK.

Principal Investigator: 

Dr Hannah Chalmers


Alasdair Bruce

Research Institutes: 

  • Energy Systems

Research Themes: 

  • Power Systems

Last modified: 

Friday, March 13, 2015 - 10:16