IEA: a well-connected grid and a real power market mean more renewables

‘Harnessing Variable Renewables’ points out that so-called “variable” energy sources such as wind power can be managed with an intelligent, joined-up grid and a functioning electricity market. In fact, the more flexible the power system, the bigger the role renewables can play, the report says.

It also shows that the larger the ‘balancing area’ – that is, the area for which power demand is matched to production – the more any ups and downs in power supply from variable sources are smoothed out. Another point EWEA has often made.

The IEA’s Hugo Chandler, who presented the report at the European Renewable Energy Council’s recent conference, showed how different countries have a different ‘renewable energy penetration potential’ depending on a variety of flexibility factors.

“Denmark has the highest potential at 63% as it has a nicely meshed power system, it uses forecasting and is part of the wider Nordic power market”, Chandler said. “At the other end of the scale we have Japan with a potential of just 19%. This is because it has ten different power systems managed by ten vertically integrated utilities, so there’s no sharing of power”.

By Sarah Azau,