EPJ Plus Highlight - Scaling up renewable energy

Power increments of the grid measured every 15 minutes, against the initial grid power for solar power. © F. Wagner

A new study focuses on the feasibility of scaling up renewable energy to cover the needs of a country the size of Germany

Can renewable energy adequately supply the power grid, despite its intermittent nature? This is the key question in a new study published in EPJ Plus. The study is based on an analysis of concrete data from 2012 for the German national grid, which also utilises electricity from both on and offshore wind (8%) and solar sources (4.8%). Friedrich Wagner from the Max-Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Greifswald, Germany, outlines the key issues associated with the use of renewable energy on a large scale.

Following a political decision to phase out nuclear power and reduce CO2 emissions from fossil fuels in Germany, the country is now entering a new era in which electricity production is no longer demand-led. Instead, it involves scaling the renewable energy production infrastructure to accommodate such an intermittent supply.

The author scaled the 2012 German data in such a way that renewable energy constitutes a larger than actual share of electricity production, reaching up to 100% and thus covering the country’s electricity needs for one year. He found that the corresponding power infrastructure has to be able to deliver three times the energy load at peak use.

This leads to excess power production, sometimes incurring negative demand-led prices when supply significantly exceeds demand. Excess power can only be partly stored, due to the lack of large storage capabilities, or partly exported, to avoid the risk of disrupting neighbouring electricity markets. This setup still requires backup power from thermal power plants to cover periods of low wind and solar energy production.

The author concludes that it would be difficult for renewable energy sources to match the low CO2 emissions of European countries that mostly produce electricity using nuclear and hydro power, such as Switzerland, Sweden and France.

This was our first experience of publishing with EPJ Web of Conferences. We contacted the publisher in the middle of September, just one month prior to the Conference, but everything went through smoothly. We have had published MNPS Proceedings with different publishers in the past, and would like to tell that the EPJ Web of Conferences team was probably the best, very quick, helpful and interactive. Typically, we were getting responses from EPJ Web of Conferences team within less than an hour and have had help at every production stage.
We are very thankful to Solange Guenot, Web of Conferences Publishing Editor, and Isabelle Houlbert, Web of Conferences Production Editor, for their support. These ladies are top-level professionals, who made a great contribution to the success of this issue. We are fully satisfied with the publication of the Conference Proceedings and are looking forward to further cooperation. The publication was very fast, easy and of high quality. My colleagues and I strongly recommend EPJ Web of Conferences to anyone, who is interested in quick high-quality publication of conference proceedings.

On behalf of the Organizing and Program Committees and Editorial Team of MNPS-2019, Dr. Alexey B. Nadykto, Moscow State Technological University “STANKIN”, Moscow, Russia. EPJ Web of Conferences vol. 224 (2019)

ISSN: 2100-014X (Electronic Edition)

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