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Grid Integration Of Renewable Energy - Expert Perspective From Michael Kranhold

Approximately 138 countries have adopted renewable energy support policies last year - up from 127 countries in 2013. Global investment into renewable energy have doubled in the last 5 years

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Over the recent past, there has been a surge in the development and installations of renewable energy across nations.

Germany, for example, plans to increase the share of renewable energy mix to 35% by 2020. Similarly, Spain is estimated to reach about 3.1% of wind power generation by 2020. Examples such as these and many others across the world are strong indicative of the world affinity towards renewables. Denmark, Spain, Germany, California, China, and Australia are leading the world with highest shares of renewables integrations.

While this is picking momentum, as countries gear up for handling larger shares of renewables into their grids, storage technology becomes more relevant. Variable demands to variable supplies induces the need for increased accuracy of demand and supply predictions. Power transmission bottlenecks and regulatory risks are a few other challenges that need to be addressed among others before countries are able to meet and exceed their RE targets as below

Region Current Share % Target % Year
World 18%
EU25 14% 21% 2020
EU 14% 40% 2030

Selected EU countries

Region Current Share % Target % Year
Austria 62 78 2010
Belgium 2.8 6.0 2010
Czech Republic 4.2 8.0 2010
Denmark 26 29 2010
Finland 29 31.5 2010
France 10.9 21 2010
Germany 11.5 12.5 2010
Greece 13 20.1 2010
Hungary 4.4 3.6 2010
Ireland 10 13.2 2010
Italy 16 25 2010
Luxembourg 6.9 5.7 2010
Netherlands 8.2 9.0 2010
Poland 2.6 7.5 2010
Portugal 32 45 2010
Slovak Republic 14 31 2010
Spain 19 29.41 2010
Sweden 49 60 2010
United Kingdom 4.1 10 2010

Selected other countries

Region Current Share % Target % Year
Argentina 1.3% 8% 2016
Australia 9.15% 20% (45,000 GWh New generation) 2020
Brazil 5%
Canada 59% 90% (non-emitting sources) 2020
Chile 9% 20% 2025
China 8% 15% 2020
Egypt 15% 20% 2020
India 4% 35%
Indonesia 4% 15% (inc. nuclear) 2025
Israel 0% 5% 2016
Japan 0.4% 1.63% 2014
Korea 6.08% 2020
Malaysia 0% 5% 2005
Mexico 16% 40% 2014
Morocco 10% 20% 2012
New Zealand 6% 90% 2025
Nigeria 7% 2025
Pakistan 10% 2015
The Philippines 100% increase from 2005 2015
Russia 2.5% 2024
Switzerland 52%
Taiwan 6% 12% 2020
Thailand 7% 20% 2022
United States 9.2%
Vietnam 5% 2020

To understand more about this market and the underlying opportunities we sought inputs from Michael Kranhold. Michael is the Director Customer Management/Grid Settlement at 50Hertz Transmission GmbH , Germany

Tim: What are the key challenges faced by utilities? How are they strategizing themselves to overcome these challenges?

Michael: When the renewable boom starts, the old economy (utilities) are underestimating the effects on system (see the negative development of RWE, E.ON …). There is the need to be open for new trends. In Europe (Germany) the rise of renewables was timed together with the liberalization of the electricity market, which includes elements of contradiction (plan versus narket). Right timing of legislation seems to be a next element.

Tim: How did countries with larger shares of RE successfully integrate renewables into the grid? What are some of the best practices adopted by these countries?

Michael: In the control area of 50Hertz more than 50% of generation is based on RES (Wind and Solar), i.e. 27 GW + 23 GW on conventional power. About 50% of the electricity supply was from RES in 2015.

Over the years we developed good forecasts of RES production. We deloped good cooperation with our DSO partners to make use of ancillary services from RES. To use dispersed generation we elaborated a nationwide grid development program, which is updated every two years.

The process is led by the regulator. To invest heavily in the grid you need fortunate climate for investors (regulation scheme). As normally the grid erection needs time – you have also to have techniques to redispatch and to avoid bottlenecks in the grid. Last but not least you need a pro-active communication to all stakeholders that feel influenced by new overhead lines.

Tim: What are the key storage and forecasting technologies that support the integration of renewables into the grid?

Michael: For the future we need more long term storage to overcome periods without wind and sunshine. Good forecasting of climate is key and therefore also an extensive data exchange with the RES and also the grids where they are connected (i.e. DSO).

Tim: What are the stages involved in the process of integrating RE into the grid? Who are the key stakeholders involved in the process?

Michael: First you need a legislation which gives a stable framework for investors in green technology. Therefor the willingness of the population is key – to be ready to subsidize this energy. To make best use of renewables you need a plan to promote and to build new lines (grids). Don’t forget neighbour countries which are influenced by your plans (loop flows).

After long period of subsidies try to get more market elements in place (i.e. auctioning of capacities). For all players the stable regulatory environment is key. To erect new lines or RES you need the acceptance of the stakeholders.


More about Michael Kranhold

Michael Kranhold

Michael Kranhold is an electrical engineer and holds an MBA-diploma (Kellogg-WHU).

Michael started his professional career in the Control Centre of the GDR after finishing his study in the field of energy supply in Minsk/Belarus in 1984. He got a broad practical experience in various areas of the grid business, at the Central Dispatch Organization of the East European Interconnected Networks in Prague and in the legal predecessors of 50Hertz in Berlin. Michael worked for system control, grid planning, energy management, corporate development and controlling. He is now Director of the Customer management/Grid Settlement Division.

You can follow Michael on his LinkedIn Profile

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