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The future need for flexibility and the impact of fluctuating renewable power generation

: Brunner, Christoph; Deac, Gerda; Braun, Sebastian; Zöphel, Christoph


Renewable energy 149 (2020), pp.1314-1324
ISSN: 0960-1481
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ISI ()
flexibility; fluctuating renewable energy sources; residual load; future power systems

A power system with 80% renewable energy sources (RES) requires significant provision of flexibility to balance the deviations of fluctuating solar and wind power. This paper focuses on how a smart mix of renewable generation technologies can reduce the demand for flexibility and therefore the overall system costs. To measure the demand for flexibility in systems with high RES generation, the term flexibility is defined and described using predictable indicators such as the difference between the highest and the lowest residual demand or the number of hours with negative residual load during a year. This definition is required to determine the optimal mix of RES installations. Optimization is performed for Germany based on the grid development plan of the transmission system operators. In contrast to most studies of the future energy system that foresee a further expansion of onshore wind, this paper shows that higher shares of offshore wind and, to some extent, photovoltaic are better suited to reducing the demand for flexibility and thus the cost of integrating fluctuating RES into the system.