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Flexibility options for enhanced use of electricity from renewable energy sources (Amme et al. 2020)

Jonathan Amme, Guido Pleßmann, Marcus Schluzy, Julian Endres, Mascha Richter

The expansion of renewables leads to new economic and social challenges, for example grid congestions and land-use conflicts. This study investigates supply-oriented flexibility options for the electricity system (i.e. battery storages, power-to-heat, demand-side management) and their potential to enhance the integration of renewable energy sources into the energy system. Two different approaches to integrate flexibility options are used in individual case studies. In a qualitative manner, we compare these case studies along challenges to decarbonize the energy sector. Both case studies make use of well-researched, region-specific and verified data for model calculations. The techno-economic potential is analyzed by using a dispatch optimization energy system model, applied to different scenarios that cover various combinations of renewable energy penetration, regulatory framework, and flexibility options. The analysis shows that flexibility options have great technical potential to increase effective use of otherwise curtailed electricity produced by wind turbines. However, the current regulations are found to inhibit the economic use of curtailed energy. Furthermore, we find that the land-use regulations need to be adapted in order to increase renewable capacities required for a deep decarbonization of the energy sector. The qualitative comparison of the two case studies shows significant regional differences regarding challenges of the integration of renewables. Likewise, the potential of flexibility options to address these challenges varies. In general, we show that coupling of energy supply sectors has high potential for enabling flexibility in the electricity supply sector.

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