Agora Energiewende

Power system transformation and storage - incorporating flexibility into the grid

Agora Energiewende
DATE 31 October 2019
TIME 02:00 PM - 05:00 PM
Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands Singapore

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 make ensure 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 would 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, it reveals a larger range of solutions to build flexibility into the grid. In Germany, renewables constitute 36% of annual power demand in 2018; with wind and solar PV providing up to 75% of power demand during certain hours. Storage played 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 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 lay out sustainable power system pathways for Indonesia and Vietnam. It will demonstrate the economic feasibility of 2030 power system generation mix with similar inputs of variable renewables as Germany today.

We will study how Germany deals with renewable by making the overall power system more flexible, such as through ramping up the capabilities of hydro, fossil and bioenergy power plants, grid reinforcement to balance regional supply and demand differences, demand response technology, pumped hydro and battery storage. We will also discuss technological developments that experts foresee for battery and other storage technology in the coming decades.

Finally, we will highlight the relevance of policymaking and modern regulation to incentivize cost efficiency, flexibility, and security for power system operations.

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