No stabilization without flexibilization

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Power networks need more and different sources of flexibility, if safe and stable system operations are to be maintained. This is the main point of the report “Flexibility in the Power System – The need, opportunity and value of flexibility,” released by Dutch consultancy, DVN GL.

The authors of the white paper claim that the stability of power systems is currently being put at risk by three main factors: the growth of renewables both at large-scale and distributed generation level; a general increase of power consumption; and the electrification of the transportation, and heating and cooling sectors.

DNV GL experts assert that variability and uncertainty historically occur on the demand side, with new power consumers like electric vehicle chargers and electrical heat pumps playing an active role in responding to the system’s need for flexibility, provided that they adapt to consumer patterns.

“Societal trends like the increased uptake of renewable energy and electric vehicles demand greater flexibility in our power systems, but they also open up new options for flexibility in the grid. And while energy storage – particularly through high-capacity batteries – have so far attracted most of the headlines, there are other possibilities such as demand-side management and network reinforcement,” said the paper’s lead author Jos van der Burgt, Senior Researcher, Power and Renewables, DNV GL Group Technology and Research.

The report defines three different type of flexibility services that can help stabilize power systems on the demand side: the short-term flexibility which is provided from a few (sub)seconds to about 15 minutes and is required for real-time balancing operation; the medium-term flexibility that is provided from an hour to a few hours up to a day and is required in the intra-day and day-ahead markets; and the long-term flexibility services, which are contracted from weeks to years ahead to anticipate long-term developments.

“With this white paper, we want to help all stakeholders understand the value and opportunities around flexibility, and support them in creating optimized business models that will accelerate the global transition to a greener energy future,” said DNV GL Director Technology & Innovation Lucy Craig.