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18 February 2015

Mott MacDonald study identifies need for new policies to address integration of variable renewables

A study by Mott MacDonald has concluded that new policies are required for the successful integration of variable renewable energy (VRE) technologies into markets and power systems. The study found that while many of these technologies can provide the additional benefit of promoting efficient markets, policy makers will need to tailor their interventions to suit their country specific factors.

The study, known as RE-INTEGRATION and carried out on behalf of IEA Implementing Agreement for Renewable Energy Technology Deployment (IEA-RETD), addressed the issues and challenges facing the integration of VRE technologies into electricity grids. It looked into the typical country-specific factors determining the choice of integration measures, the applicability and effectiveness of policies and drew general lessons for countries with similar underlying characteristics.

As part of the study, Mott MacDonald consulted with system operators and policy makers in the case study countries. The consultation explored opinions on market design, the perception of specific technical challenges and the types of policies introduced to deal with the increasing renewables penetration.

Simon Harrison, Mott MacDonald’s strategic development manager, said: “Integration of renewable energy into electricity systems on a large scale throws up new and highly technical issues, such as falling system inertia, frequency and voltage control and fault ride-through. Policy makers need to be aware of these issues and how to address them to avoid impacts on electricity system resilience and the reliability of consumer supplies.”

“The greatest challenge will face those countries with weak interconnection and electrical system flexibility. Appropriate integration measures will need to be implemented at lower levels of VRE penetration,” Simon added.

The RE-INTEGRATION report can be downloaded here http://iea-retd.org/archives/publications/re-integration.

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