The role of large-scale energy storage under high shares of renewable energy

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Abstract

This paper discusses how a high share of renewable energy (referred to as renewables) will influence the power quality of the grid. The mix of power generation varies from country to country. Each power generator has an important role in minimizing total operating costs and maintaining power quality. Conventionally, middle-scale thermal power plants play a role in mitigating demand and supply variations. Under a high share of renewables, the supply adjustability of thermal power to mitigate the output variations due to renewables will run short. Therefore, energy storage systems will be required as a countermeasure. The energy storage capacity required will depend on the net variation due to a smoothing effect. The magnitude of this net variation is the key for estimating the correct storage capacities. Under net variations of 15 and 30%, the respective global energy storage capacities needed have been predicted to be 189 and 305 GW in 2050 when aiming at 50% carbon dioxide emission reductions globally. In this working paper, several energy storage systems are reviewed. Specifications for each energy storage system will be identified. It is concluded that an optimum mix of different energy storage systems will be essential to realize decarbonized power grids. WIREs Energy Environ 2015, 4:115–132. doi: 10.1002/wene.114

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Conflict of interest: The author has declared no conflicts of interest for this article.

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