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Optimization of energy storage and system flexibility in the context of the energy transition: Germany’s power grid as a case study

Sciprofile linkLeonardo K. K. Maia, Edwin Zondervan
Published: 4 December 2019
BMC Energy , Volume 1, pp 1-17; doi:10.1186/s42500-019-0009-2

Abstract: In this work we explore the ramifications of incoming changes brought by the energy transition, most notably the increased penetration of variable renewable energy (VRE) and phase-out of nuclear and other conventional electricity sources. The power grid will require additional flexibility capabilities to accommodate such changes, as the mismatch between generation and demand is bound to increase. Through mathematical modeling and optimization, we simulate the German power grid and investigate the requirements of on-grid large-scale storage. Different scenarios are evaluated up to 2050, when 80% of the gross electricity consumption is planned to be provided by renewable energy. Dispatchable power plants will play a key role in the transition to an energy mix with high shares of VRE. Around 120 GW of additional large-scale storage are required until 2050. Between the electrochemical technologies evaluated, lithium-ion was the best candidate. A strong reliance on dispatchables was observed, in case the commissioning of VRE plants goes slower than planned. Energy curtailment increases with VRE shares, with up to 14 TWh curtailed in high VRE scenarios in 2050.
Keywords: optimization / energy storage / energy transition / System Flexibility / energy systems modeling / Germany power grid

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