Main content area

Substitution of coal power plants with renewable energy sources – Shift of the power demand and energy storage

Leonard, Matthew D., Michaelides, Efstathios E., Michaelides, Dimitrios N.
Energy conversion and management 2018 v.164 pp. 27-35
carbon dioxide, climate change, coal, electric power, electricity, energy, greenhouse gas emissions, hydrogen, power plants, solar energy, solar radiation, wind, wind power, Texas
Because of their Global Climate Change contributions, it is desirable to reduce the amount of the global CO2 emissions. One of the ways to accomplish this is the substitution of coal with renewable energy sources, most notably wind and solar. However, the availability of wind energy and of insolation does not follow the diurnal and annual demand patterns of electric power. The large-scale substitution of coal with wind and solar significantly shifts the demand for the rest of the power producing units. When the contribution of wind and solar exceeds approximately 25% of the total annual energy produced, there are time periods within a year when excess electricity is produced that must be wasted/dissipated. This presents a severe constraint for the substitution of coal-generated electricity with renewables. At such production levels diurnal or seasonal storage of energy becomes necessary and hydrogen storage offers the best alternative. Based on the hourly, electricity demand of a region in North Texas, which has very high availability of wind and solar energy and is considered prime region for renewables, extensive calculations are made for: (a) the solar and wind rated power that are necessary for the substitution of part or all the power currently supplied by a coal-fired power plant; and (b) the storage requirements for this substitution. Significant seasonal and diurnal energy storage, on the order of 250,000 m3, is required for the total substitution of coal in the region. The calculations also reveal that the substitution of coal with the renewable energy sources may be optimized for minimum energy storage capacity.