The risk of both surpluses and deficits in power and energy in a 100 percent renewable electricity system can be managed with investments in infrastructure, energy storage and flexible electricity consumption, according to a new report by consulting firm DNV GL. The number of occasions with a large surplus on electricity production is significantly higher and much larger in terms of power, which shows that the energy debate about future challenges is misdirected, writes the Swedish Wind Energy Association, who commissioned the report.
– Since the Swedish Energy Policy Agreement was entered four years ago, it has been debated whether the goal of a 100 percent renewable electricity system is achievable and what it would cost. The new study shows that the goal can be achieved with modern technology and that it will be cheaper than investing in new nuclear power, says Daniel Kulin, strategic analyst at SWEA.
In an electricity system without nuclear power and with a lot of wind power, challenges arise when difference between electricity production and demand for electricity is severe. Therefore, the purpose of the current study has been to examine the ways in which the new system challenges can be met, and to investigate the possible costs.
The study has modeled a week that is the worst of over a thousand weeks. The results indicate that situations of both surpluses and deficits in electricity production are manageable.
– The lowest costs are obtained through financial incentives for households and industries that choose to reduce their electricity use when there is a deficit in electricity. This is combined with energy storage where electricity is used to produce, for example, hydrogen, and then converted to electricity again during the most challenging hours, Jørgen Bjørndalen, Principal Consultant at DNV GL.
During an extreme week, the cost for technical solutions based on flexible electricity consumption and energy storage is estimated at around 3 billion SEK. To invest in, for example, two new nuclear reactors would require support of around 5 billion SEK per year and the total cost of managing an extreme week would be around 6 billion SEK.
Modern technical solutions for managing deficits are also well suited for managing surpluses in electricity production. The ability to manage the surplus in an economical way is a prerequisite for a continued expansion of renewable electricity production based on solar and wind.
– The debate often focuses on the few occasions we risk having a deficit in electricity production, but it will become much more common with production surpluses in the future. Actually, we see tendencies to a large surplus already today, says Daniel Kulin.
The challenges can be managed, but in order to prevent situations of shortage, the transition needs to accelerate.
– Potential obstacles are that Swedish TSO Svenska Kraftnät fails to develop the grid-capacity in time. This is a serious risk and some effects can be seen already today. There is an urgent need for efforts to strengthen the grid capacity from north to south as well as to the growing regions of Sweden, says Daniel Kulin.
For questions, contact:
Daniel Kulin, Strategic analyst, Swedish Wind Energy Association
Phone: +46 768 33 07 77
Jakub Gubanski, Business Development Manager, DNV GL Energy
Phone: +46 730 80 04 60