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Energies 2016, 9(7), 510; doi:10.3390/en9070510

Curtailment in a Highly Renewable Power System and Its Effect on Capacity Factors

1
ForWind, Center for Wind Energy Research, Ammerlaender Heerstreet 136, 26129 Oldenburg, Germany
2
Institute of Physics, University of Oldenburg, Ammerlaender Heerstreet 114, 26129 Oldenburg, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paolo Mercorelli
Received: 26 April 2016 / Revised: 2 June 2016 / Accepted: 9 June 2016 / Published: 30 June 2016
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Abstract

The capacity factor of a power plant is the ratio of generation over its potential generation. It is an important measure to describe wind and solar resources. However, the fluctuating nature of renewable power generation makes it difficult to integrate all generation at times. Whenever generation exceeds the load, curtailment or storage of energy is required. With increasing renewable shares in the power system, the level of curtailment will further increase. In this work, the influence of the curtailment on the capacity factors for a highly renewable German power system is studied. An effective capacity factor is introduced, and the implications for the distribution of renewable power plants are discussed. Three years of highly-resolved weather data were used to model wind and solar power generation. Together with historical load data and a transmission model, a possible future German power system was simulated. It is shown that effective capacity factors for unlimited transmission are strongly reduced by up to 60% (wind) and 70% (photovoltaics) and therefore of limited value in a highly renewable power system. Furthermore, the results demonstrate that wind power benefits more strongly from a reinforced transmission grid than photovoltaics (PV) does. View Full-Text
Keywords: renewable energy systems; capacity factor; effective capacity factor; energy system modeling; German power system; renewable site assessment renewable energy systems; capacity factor; effective capacity factor; energy system modeling; German power system; renewable site assessment
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Kies, A.; Schyska, B.U.; von Bremen, L. Curtailment in a Highly Renewable Power System and Its Effect on Capacity Factors. Energies 2016, 9, 510.

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