The Technical Committee of the World Wind Energy Association has published its latest report Wind Energy 2050: On the Shape of Near 100% Renewable Energy Grid. With wind energy increasingly getting established as a mainstream option for electricity generation in many countries, its integration with the conventional grid has emerged as a technological challenge. The report looks at the year 2050, when near 100% renewable energy grids will be established.
Hon. Peter Rae AO, WWEA President: “This exciting publication demonstrates the possibilities for a renewables mix on the global level to achieve high percentages of total grid supply and the realisation of our 50% and 100% goals. It will be hastened by a strong public education program which enables the public, that is the community on local, regional and national levels, to understand, to actively participate in and to eventually promote this transition. In turn, an understanding of the potential and the steps along the way will lead to public demand for the rapid transition to renewables and a safer, cleaner and more sustainable world.”
Dr. Jami Hossain, chair of the WWEA Technical Committee and main author of the report: “It is crucial to understand that increased penetration of wind itself is leading to transformation of the conventional electricity. Grid will undergo changes – it will not be what it is! In this transformation many new elements will appear in the grid such as storage systems, more transmission links, forecasting, management and control systems, power electronics, AC/DC/AC and HVDC systems and converters and smart technologies.”
Stefan Gsänger, WWEA Secretary General: “We are delighted to be able to demonstrate with the Wind Energy 2050 report that there are no basic technical barriers for wind power to contribute a large portion of the future global energy supply. 40 % wind power in 2050 is a realistic scenario, and the remaining 60 % will well be covered from other renewable technologies so that the world can reach a 100 % renewable power supply latest by the middle of this century.”
The key recommendations are:
There is a need for flexibility in the power system, which implies a lesser capacity based on nuclear and coal and a larger capacity based on hydro or fast response units.
Even in the absence of wind, a power system has to deal with many dynamic parameters such as availability of plants and variability in load demand. Wind generation only adds to the dynamics in the system.
A larger number of transmission links needs to be set up from a high wind resource area to the adjoining areas
DC and HVDC technologies need to be deployed, with converters and power electronics that address issues of harmonics and stability
There is a need for utility scale storage systems to balance fluctuations
There is a need for forecasting power output from wind farms over both, long term (1 week) and very short term (1 hr)
Wind turbines need to be modified to enable better control and grid friendly operation such as LVRT, HVRT, curtailed operation or power factor adjustments. Technologies are also required to interface with storage systems with wind turbines or independent of wind turbines
In large scale wind generation, variabilities are evened out and pose less of a problem at system operation level. However, local variabilities may cause surge or dip voltage and frequency.
Smart grid options need to be explored for better communication in different parts of grid and better control
Proliferation of battery storage systems in vehicles, power back ups in domestic, industrial and commercial establishments can be leveraged to achieve high penetration of wind energy and other renewable
Hydro capacity with the ability to ramp up and ramp down in a matter of minutes is a good combination with wind energy. Pumped hydro capacity in the system has the same effect.