Future electricity systems require increased reserve capacity and frequency restoration reserve (FRR) to manage Europe’s expanding renewable energy fleet. An award-winning paper presented at POWER-GEN Europe, discusses what key attributes will make up optimum and affordable balancing systems in 2020.

As the European Union (EU) targets at least 20% of its overall capacity mix from renewables, the thermal fleet must achieve system balance by managing normal system variations, as well as variability and production forecast errors of wind and solar. In traditional power systems, where renewables were less dominant in the overall capacity mix, part-loading thermal generators was sufficient to maintain system balance. In future however, part-loading to balance the rapidly expanding renewable energy fleet will be inefficient and expensive. Increased carbon emissions, reduced fuel efficiency, higher numbers of generators in the system, and the cost of curtailing wind generation are just some of the financial and environmental implications of widespread part-loading.

Achieving system balance in future power systems.

As a result of a high share of renewables in power systems, more reserve capacity is needed and new requirements will be placed on ramping services and frequency restoration reserve (FRR). By definition, FRR is the process of activating reserves to stabilise system balance. When looking at the characteristics of FRR that are best suited to activate reserves to stabilise electricity systems, it is important to understand which imbalances are in a system and the amount of reserve needed. According to the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), imbalances in an interconnected system can be triggered for several reasons. These include:

  • Disturbance or full outage of a power generating module, (high voltage direct current) interconnector or load.
  • Continuous variation of load and generation; random fast (noise) disturbances caused by fast variations of consumption and generation.
  • Random slow disturbances caused by forecast errors of load due to unexpected weather or renewables generation.

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  Melle Kruisdijk
   Vice President Europe
   Wärtsilä Energy Solutions
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