Motivation and purpose
The power grid’s requirements of extensive reconstruction and expansion are technical challenges whose implementation must strike a balance between economic and socio-political conditions. In the course of the tender "Sustainable power grids“, the Research Center for Energy Economics (FfE) has initiated a research collaboration to evaluate and compare existing and future opportunities for grid design. This provides a basis for foresighted and holistic grid planning.
Under the heading "Merit order grid expansion 2030" (MONA 2030), a comparison of measures and technologies to relieve the power grid takes place. This comparison takes into account a high proportion of renewable energy generation fed into the transmission and distribution grid. In reference to the classic example of the merit order of power plants, the term merit order is projected to refer to the ordering of investigated measures and technologies for network loading relief in this project.
According to the distribution and transmission grid there are two key issues in focus:
1. Which technical possibilities offer different measures and technologies to relieve the grid loading in order to reduce the need for grid expansion?
2. Which of these measures are able to reduce the cost and effort associated with grid expansion sustainably?
The aim of the MONA 2030 project is to determine the most cost-effective order of measures and technologies to minimize the demand for grid expansion. These measures should additionally be viewed in comparison to the reference measure "Transmission system expansion”. The project is structured in four key elements (see Figure 2):
Future developments are presented and examined in the first stage of the project. This creates a foundation for a long-term planning horizon for grid expansion as well as for the establishment of investment decisions. Besides the current trend (reference scenario), several other scenarios are developed using a consistency analysis. In contrast to comparable studies the scenarios differ in the influences on the grid actors. In the scope of the project, actors are defined as transmission and distribution system operators as well as prosumers.
There are various grid and supply structures. However, to provide a common basis for the evaluation of measures regarding the relief of the grid, grid data was evaluated and clustered into basic grid topologies. In order to cover a variety of different grid loads, subsequently grid types is classified using regional generation and consumption profiles of very high resolution.
Comparison of grid relieving measures:
As a basis for the decision making process of stakeholders (i.e. utilities and grid operators), both existing and new innovative methods of grid relief are scientifically analyzed. This analysis is accompanied by practical suggestions for application and comparative studies. Furthermore, the comparison of measures includes techno-economic parameters as well as social and environmental aspects. In conclusion, an analysis on the primary grid optimization will be deducted, which does not only include a safe network operation, but overall addes value for the energy system.
Cost-optimized ranking of the measures (Merit Order):
To fulfil the objective of a foresighted, holistic grid, all planning measures regarding grid relief must be designed efficiently and cost-effectively. The aim is to provide an appropriate basis for a transferable and scalable assessment. Hence, recommendations for integrated grid planning in Germany can be derived.
The results of MONA 2030 will not only provide a basis for political discussion. Moreover, they will support the stakeholders affected by grid expansion in selecting appropriate measures for the construction of a cost-optimized electricity grid fulfilling the security of supply.
Funding and project partners
This study is supported within the scope of the research initiative into power grids by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) (grant number: 03ET4015 ). This funding initiative is part of the 6th Energy Research Programme of the German Federal Government.
In addition to the BMWi, 16 industry partners from the energy and automotive industry support the research project – both financially and through the provision of data and individual practical experience. The industrial partners will also evaluate the project results and examine possibilities for implementation in their own supply area.
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