Flexible energy options make power systems cleaner, cheaper

Flexible energy options make power systems cleaner, cheaper
Credit: Shutterstock.com/ Kletr

Flexible energy options, such as energy storage, smart-charging electric vehicles, demand response and interconnectors, are needed to ensure that the energy transition proceeds on an optimal path.

Our expensive power system would otherwise be reliant on fossil-fuelled backup and installing excess wind and solar capacity.

The four types of flexibility mentioned above can accelerate the transition to a cleaner power system and ultimately enable the efficient integration of 80% or more renewable energy by 2040, according to two new reports by BloombergNEF (BNEF) in partnership with Eaton and Statkraft.

The ‘Flexibility Solutions for High-Renewable Energy Systems’ reports model a number of alternative scenarios for future power systems in the UK and Germany, respectively, depending on how each flexibility technology might develop in the coming years.

Energy storage and smart electric vehicle charging provide flexibility by moving large volumes of renewable energy to periods of high demand, or moving demand to periods of high renewable generation.

Dispatchable demand response reduces the need for fossil-fired backup plants in the power system, reducing emissions. Interconnecting to Nordic hydro can address periods of both excess supply and excess demand, providing different benefits over the decades as the needs of the system evolve.

The two studies – focused on the UK and Germany – highlight that policies and regulation accelerating the adoption of these technologies are key to make a cleaner, cheaper, and more efficient power system possible.