Wind energy and the grid

Integration and Market Design

The capacity of European power systems to absorb significant amounts of wind power is determined more by economics and regulatory frameworks than by technical constraints.

The impact of wind power depends mostly on the wind power penetration level, but also on the power system size, geographical area, generation capacity mix, the degree of interconnection to neighbouring systems and load variations. Wind cannot be analysed in isolation from other parts of the power system - and all systems differ.

Alongside an adequate transmission infrastructure it is necessary to have market rules which enable an efficient integration of wind and other renewable generation.

The following elements are vital for building a future power system characterised by flexibility:

• an efficient international power exchange with integrated markets, including on intraday and balancing power;
• a flexible power generation fleet in general;
• the application of most sophisticated forecasting tools for low reserve requirements;
• extension and optimisation of transmission and distribution grids;
• demand-side management and response.

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    The Grid and the Energy Mix

    The European grid infrastructure needs upgrading at national, cross-border and trans-European level, not only to accommodate increasing amounts of wind power cost-efficiently, but also in view of completing the Internal Energy Market and to enhance security of supply.

    A European Super Grid in terms of HVDC bulk power transmission is proposed to accommodate large amounts of offshore wind power and to make full use of the continent-wide smoothing effects of wind power.

    The energy infrastructure package, which aims at facilitating the rules for application for projects and increasing EU funding for trans-European energy infrastructure, has been proposed by the European Commission to tackle the shortcomings in terms of problems with permitting procedures as well as financing. EWEA calls for a swift endorsement of the proposals by European Institutions in order to bring forward the necessary grid reinforcements in the EU.

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    Merit Order Effect

    Market dynamics prove that large amounts of wind power lead to significant decreases in the average wholesale power price level - the merit order effect. The amount from which the price goes down depends on the energy mix and the marginal technology which will be replaced by wind power investments. 

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