Main content area

Effect of increased renewables generation on operation of thermal power plants

Eser, Patrick, Singh, Antriksh, Chokani, Ndaona, Abhari, Reza S.
Applied energy 2016 v.164 pp. 723-732
coal, electricity costs, equipment, hydrologic models, nuclear power, power plants, weather, Czech Republic, Eastern European region, Germany
High spatial and temporal resolution optimal power flow simulations of the 2013 and 2020 interconnected grid in Central Western and Eastern Europe regions are undertaken to assess the impact of an increased penetration of renewables on thermal power plants. In contrast to prior studies, the present work models each individual transmission line and power plant within the two regions. Furthermore, for conventional plants, electricity costs are determined with respect to fuel type, nameplate capacity, operating condition and geographic location; cycling costs are modeled as function of the recent operational history. For renewable power plants, costs and available power are determined using mesoscale weather simulations and hydrology models. Countrywide validation of the simulations shows that all renewable and most conventional power production is predicted with less than 10% error. It is shown that the increased penetration of renewables in 2020 will induce a 4–23% increase in the number of starts of conventional plants. The number of load ramps significantly increases by 63–181%, which underlines the necessity for equipment manufacturers and utilities to adapt to scenarios of high penetration of renewables. The increased cycling operation of coal plants is shown to depend strongly on the power plant’s location and is mainly observed in Germany and the Czech Republic. Austrian coal plants are cycled less because they supply more base load power to southern Germany, where several nuclear power plants will be phased out by 2020. Thus there is a need for more transmission capacity along Germany’s north–south corridor to transport renewable power from the windy regions of northern Germany to the demand centers in southern Germany.