Evaluation of load flow and grid expansion in a unit-commitment and expansion optimization model
Energy system models serve as a basis for long term system planning. Joint optimization of electricity generating technologies, storage systems and the electricity grid leads to lower total system cost compared to an approach in which the grid expansion follows a given technology portfolio and their distribution. Modelers often face the problem of finding a good tradeoff between computational time and the level of detail that can be modeled. This paper analyses the differences between a transport model and a DC load flow model to evaluate the validity of using a simple but faster transport model within the system optimization model in terms of system reliability. The main findings in this paper are that a higher regional resolution of a system leads to better results compared to an approach in which regions are clustered as more overloads can be detected. An aggregation of lines between two model regions compared to a line sharp representation has little influence on grid expansion within a system optimizer. In a DC load flow model overloads can be detected in a line sharp case, which is therefore preferred. Overall the regions that need to reinforce the grid are identified within the system optimizer. Finally the paper recommends the usage of a load-flow model to test the validity of the model results.