If we are to be in a position to meet the EU's climate targets and to manage an increased proportion of renewable energy, the entire European electricity generation system must be reviewed and restructured. But how can this be done and how can we find joint solutions to change such a complex system?
Lisa Göransson is one of 10 researchers who has helped develop Chalmers' analysis tool. The tool is based on a detailed database of all of Europe's power plants, plus an investment model where changes in the power plant fleet can be studied over time and on the basis of different scenarios. There is also a model for studying how power plants can be run in the context of variations in wind power generation. This in turn contains a model of the European transmission system.
"I've primarily used the analysis tool to investigate how we can offset variations in wind power in a future European electricity system which uses large amounts of wind power. The fact is that the amount of wind power varies according to how much wind there is, so how can we compensate for this in a future electricity system?"
Lisa Göransson's research shows that the cost of integrating wind power into the system is low compared with the cost of meeting variations in demand. However, in a system with around 20% wind power, the order in which the plants are commissioned will be significantly affected by wind power. Large plants with poor part-load characteristics will be particularly affected because their operating time will be significantly reduced compared with smaller and more flexible plants.
"It's fairly obvious that we'll be using more solar and wind power in the future but how do we use it in the best possible way? A lot of people are looking for answers to this question and are really interested in what we have to say. Our dream is to identify clearly defined roles for all the different parts of the European electricity generation system and then to communicate our findings to others. That way we can do something to help," says Lisa Göransson.
Lisa Göransson defended her thesis on the 9th of May 2014. The thesis title is The impact of wind power variability on the least-cost dispatch of units in the electricity generation system