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Estimating the impact of variable renewable energy on base-load cycling in the GB power system

de Mars, P; O'Sullivan, A; Keppo, I; (2020) Estimating the impact of variable renewable energy on base-load cycling in the GB power system. Energy , 195 , Article 117041. 10.1016/j.energy.2020.117041. Green open access

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Abstract

Between 2009 and 2017 the share of wind and solar energy sources in the GB electricity generation mix increased from 2.5% to 17%. Due to the variable nature of these renewable sources, large thermal power stations designed for constant base-load operation have been required to operate more flexibly to compensate for fluctuations in renewable generation. This flexible operation results in increased thermal stress and reduced efficiency causing increased operation, maintenance and fuel costs for these assets. In this paper we present the results of what is, to the best of our knowledge, the first empirical study on the impact of renewables generation on startups, ramping and part-loading (collectively, ‘cycling’) of base-load generators. We develop regression models using half-hourly generation data from 2009 to 2017 that capture the impact of increased renewable penetration while taking into account confounding factors including seasonality and demand. We find that with 2009-levels of renewable generation, cycling in 2017 would have been less severe, with 20% fewer startups. We also present estimates for cycling under National Grid Future Energy Scenarios to 2030 with implications for investment in generation assets. Additionally, the dataset derived in this research is made available and comprises the first open-access dataset on cycling.

Type: Article
Title: Estimating the impact of variable renewable energy on base-load cycling in the GB power system
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.energy.2020.117041
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.energy.2020.117041
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Power plant cycling, Renewable energy, Data analysis, Regression
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Arts and Sciences (BASc)
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10091629
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