Designing low-carbon power systems for Great Britain in 2050 that are robust to the spatiotemporal and inter-annual variability of weather

Marianne Zeyringer, James Price, Birgit Fais, Pei-Hao Li, Ed Sharp
2018 Nature Energy  
The design of cost effective power systems with high shares of variable renewable energy technologies (VREs) requires a modelling approach that simultaneously represents the whole energy system combined with the spatiotemporal and inter-annual variability of VREs. Here we soft-link a long term energy system model, that explores new energy systems configurations from years to decades, with a high spatial and temporal resolution power system model that captures VRE variability from hours to
more » ... Applying this methodology to Great Britain for 2050, we find that VRE focused power system design is highly sensitive to the inter-annual variability of weather and that planning based on a single year can lead to operational inadequacy and failure to meet long term decarbonisation objectives. However, some insights do emerge that are relatively stable to weather year. Reinforcement of the transmission system consistently leads to a decrease in system costs while electricity storage and flexible generation, needed to integrate VREs into the system, are generally deployed close to demand centres. Affiliations Contributions M.Z. designed the study with J.P. M.Z. and J.P. have developed the highRES model. B.F. co-built the UKTM model. M.Z. and J.P conducted the highRES model runs. B.F. and P.L. conducted the UKTM model runs. M.Z. conducted the spatial analysis on the capacity potential per technology, E.S. generated the wind time series, J.P. generated the PV time series. B.F. wrote the text on UKTM, E.S. wrote the text on generating wind time series. M.Z. wrote the document with J.P. and they generated figures and tables.
doi:10.1038/s41560-018-0128-x fatcat:5lvfyz2tlnc4rffacdmlm4jmra