100% Northeast Asian renewable system plotted

A number of models to plot fully renewable energy systems have been developed, such as Fraunhofer ISE’s work on Germany and the University of New South Wales on Australia. Researchers from three Finnish institutions, in an international consortium, have turned their attention to Northeast Asia, finding that a comprehensive renewable system can be developed in China, Korea and Japan.

China and Japan represented key solar markets in 2014 and are set to do so again in 2015, in analysis from BNEF released last week.

The Finnish research findings were delivered at the recent World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion in Kyoto, where the resultant paper picked up the Best Paper award. The research was carried out by an international team lead by Lappeenranta University of Technology, VTT Technical Research Centre and the Finland Futures Research Centre. It was funded by the Finnish innovation agency Tekes as part of larger project granted €5 million (US$5.88 million) in funding.

The project created a large-scale simulation to plot a 100% renewable system across the Northeast Asian region.

“Renewable energy is… the cheapest form of energy production available to them there. All of the other options are more expensive,” said Professor of solar economy Christian Breyer, from the Lappeenranta University. “It is a new insight,” he concluded. Breyer made his remarks to Finland’s public broadcaster.

Solar’s rapidly falling costs was one of the key factors in the conclusions the research team reached.

Turning its attention to Finland’s energy system, the researchers said that power-to-gas would be a viable option for supplying the country during its long, cold winter.

“The solar power can be stored in the existing natural gas infrastructure,” said lead researcher on the project Pasi Vainikka, from VTT. “We don’t actually have this infrastructure yet, but it is coming with the launch of the new LNG (liquefied natural gas) terminals that have been agreed upon. They will provide significant amounts of chemical energy that can be used in the winter time.”