Integration of variable renewable electricity sources in electricity systems

The IEA’s Implementing Agreement on Renewable Energy Technology Deployment (IEA-RETD) has commissioned a study on the integration of variable renewable (VRE) generation in the electricity systems (RE-INTEGRATION). The objective of the RE-INTEGRATION study is to generate new insights for key decision makers in governments and private sector regarding the following research questions:

  • What are typical sets of country specific system and regulatory factors that determine the choice of a given portfolio of flexibility options?
  • What does a – case study based – thorough assessment of the portfolios of flexibility options along the different analytical dimensions conclude on the applicability and the effectiveness of the options?
  • What general lessons might be drawn by countries with similar underlying conditions?

The RE-INTEGRATION builds on recent and on-going IEA-RETD and IEA work, in particular IEA-RETD RES-E-NEXT, IEA-RETD RE-COST 1 and IEA GIVAR III.

The study, carried out by Mott MacDonald, U.K., concludes that the continued increase of levels of penetration of VRE technologies requires new policies in order to secure a successful integration of VRE’s into markets and power systems. The study finds that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach: policy makers will need to tailor their policy interventions to suit their country specific factors, though many VRE integration policies have the additional benefit of promoting efficient markets. Countries with weak interconnection and electrical system flexibility will face the greatest challenge, and so they will need to implement appropriate VRE integration measures at lower levels of VRE penetration.

The Volume I: Main Report outlines the overall approach taken, the background and methodology behind the study and key findings. The study undertook a more detailed analysis, through case studies, of 10 jurisdictions around the globe. The case studies included: Canada (Alberta, Ontario), Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Japan (Hokkaido), Spain and USA (California, Texas (ERCOT)). Detailed information relating to each jurisdiction can be found in Volume II: Case Studies.