Driven by the rapid decrease in technological costs and greater environmental concerns, renewables, in particular wind and solar power, play an increasingly important role in power systems globally. In 2018 alone, renewable energy generation grew by 450 TWh globally.
However, wind power and PV are variable and weather-dependent, subject to forecasting error and located often far away from areas of high demand. Integrating renewables requires us to rethink the way power systems are planned and operated, in order to ensure the load is covered at all times. Discussions often focus on storage as the major solution to this challenge as the ability to store excess electricity is expected to fill the gaps when output from wind and solar energy is low.
Looking at countries where wind power and PV contribute significantly to the electricity supply, reveals a larger range of solutions to build flexibility into the grid. In Germany, wind and solar PV provide up to 75% of power demand during certain hours. Storage, as of now, plays a minor role in keeping the lights on at any time of the year.
To what extent can these learnings can be applied to the transformation of the power system in emerging economies, such as in Southeast Asia, where power demand is increasing rapidly? In this roundtable, we will present two recent independent analyses that will layout sustainable power system pathways for Indonesia and Vietnam, and address the need for suitable regulation to ensure the lights will not go out.