Thesis Overview

Capturing low-carbon power system dynamics

On the 12th of December 2015 Anne Sjoerd Brouwer successfully defended his dissertation at Utrecht University. His dissertation is titled "Capturing low-carbon power system dynamics" (download).

This dissertation investigates the operational and economic feasibility of such future low-carbon power systems by simulating both Dutch and European power systems. Particular attention is paid to the impacts of intermittent renewable energy sources (iRES) on the power system, the operational and economic performance of power plants with carbon capture and storage (CCS) and the flexibility of the power system.

It is found that iRES affect the operation of power systems, but that their impacts are manageable. Overall, sufficient operational flexibility is available in future low-carbon power systems to accommodate variable electricity production of iRES and to supply the extra balancing reserves that are needed to compensate for the forecast error of iRES. Power systems will experience reduced capacity factors of dispatchable generators such as power plants. The efficiency of power plants is hardly reduced by iRES.

It is also observed that low-carbon power systems can be realized with various generation portfolios. A large share of power can be generated by either natural gas-fired combined cycle (NGCC) power plants with CCS, nuclear power, or renewable sources, in particular wind and solar power. A higher share of renewables may be better aligned with long-term climate targets up to 2100, but will be around 12% more expensive in the year 2050 than deploying more natural-gas fired power plants. This price increase is caused by the higher investment costs of iRES, and "integration costs" associated with integrating the intermittent electricity production in the system. The integration costs are largely caused by underutilization of dispatchable capacity, whose capacity factors are reduced.

Thesis Overview

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