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WIREs Energy Environ.
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Contribution of bulk energy storage to integrating variable renewable energies in future European electricity systems

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Remarkably higher expected shares of variable renewable energy sources for electricity generation (RES‐Electricity) than those available today will be a great challenge for the European power system. Bulk electricity storage technologies—that is, pumped hydro energy storage—are considered a key component while facing these future challenges. The conducted analysis is based on the modeling results of the Blue storyline of the SUSPLAN project that is characterized by a high growth of RES‐Electricity deployment. The RES‐Electricity deployment results on a country level for the years 2030 and 2050, the age structure of the existing thermal power plant portfolio, and hourly values of electricity demand and RES‐Electricity generation are taken as input for a linear optimization algorithm, which is implemented to analyse the importance of bulk electricity storage technologies for integrating large amounts of variable RES‐Electricity in European regions. Two regions are analysed in detail: Central Western Europe and the Iberian Peninsula. The results show that due to the age‐related phase out of thermal power plants in the future, additional new power plant capacities will be needed in many European regions by the year 2030. Only some European regions also have sufficient flexible generation capacity available to cover the residual load in the long term. Furthermore, RES‐Electricity feed‐in will exceed electricity demand for some time during the year 2050 in several regions. The Iberian Peninsula shows especially high RES‐Electricity feed‐in exceeding electricity demand about half the time during the year 2050. This surplus RES‐Electricity generation can be used for bulk electricity storage and/or for exports to neighboring European regions. WIREs Energy Environ 2016, 5:451–469. doi: 10.1002/wene.195 This article is categorized under: Energy Infrastructure > Systems and Infrastructure Energy Systems Economics > Systems and Infrastructure Energy and Development > Systems and Infrastructure
Coverage of the 2050 residual load after pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) optimization in the Iberian Peninsula with existing thermal power plants in the Blue storyline.
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Coverage of the 2050 residual load of the Iberian Peninsula with existing thermal power plants and pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) in the Blue storyline.
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Classified load duration and residual load curves for the Iberian Peninsula in the Blue storyline in the year 2050. CSP, concentrated solar power; HPP, PV, photovoltaics; RES‐E, renewable energy sources for electricity generation; RoR, run‐of‐river.
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Coverage of the 2030 residual load after pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) optimization in the Iberian Peninsula with existing thermal power plants in the Blue storyline.
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Coverage of the 2030 residual load of the Iberian Peninsula with existing thermal power plants and pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) in the Blue storyline.
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Classified load duration and residual load curves for the Iberian Peninsula in the Blue storyline in the year 2030. CSP, concentrated solar power; HPP, PV, photovoltaics; RES‐E, renewable energy sources for electricity generation.
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Coverage of the 2050 residual load after pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) optimization in the Central Western Europe (CWE) region with existing thermal power plants in the Blue storyline. TPP, thermal power plants.
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Coverage of the 2050 residual load of the Central Western Europe (CWE) region with existing thermal power plants and pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) in the Blue storyline. TPP, thermal power plants.
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Classified load duration and residual load curves for the Central Western Europe (CWE) region in the Blue storyline in 2050. RES‐E, renewable energy sources for electricity generation; RoR, run‐of‐river.
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Storage capacity of the pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) system in the Central Western Europe (CWE) region in the year 2030.
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Coverage of the 2030 residual load after pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) optimization in the Central Western Europe (CWE) region with existing thermal power plants in the Blue storyline.
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Coverage of the 2030 residual load of the Central Western Europe (CWE) region with existing thermal power plants and pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) in the Blue storyline.
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Age structure of the thermal power plant portfolio in the Central Western Europe (CWE) region.
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Classified load duration and residual load curves for the Central Western Europe (CWE) region in the Blue storyline in 2030.
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Clustering of countries to nine different European electricity market regions.
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(Pumped) hydro energy storage [(P)HES] potential in Europe until the year 2050: power capacity per country (GW) (a) and power capacity per land area per country (kW/km2) (b).
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Contribution of transmission grid expansion for mitigation of variable renewable energy sources (RES)‐Electricity generation (e.g. wind) within the regions.
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