Poyry market prediction study

At the Brave New Climate blog, guest blogger Jani-Petri Markainen discusses if large scale grids will help balancing loads in a future with much more renewable energy.

Contrary to common sense, his result is negative.

To support his conclusion, he works with some historical data on wind in three different areas and finds that there are still periods where there is not enough wind to match demand, even when adding everything up.

I am not convinced yet. The post assumes that there is only wind energy. In reality, we have solar and the reliable sources of biomass, hydro and geothermal. And even if there is less supply than demand, so what? All that happens is a price spike. Happens all the time even now.

One comment to the post by Scott Luft pointed to this March 2011 study by the Poyry consultancy on the subject of European electricity markets with larger renewable capacities.

They actually confirm the theory that a large scale grid won’t help balancing much. Their reason is different, however. They note from past weather patterns that lack of wind occurs over an area of more than 1000 miles. Therefore, grid connections in Europe don’t help much.

The answer to that is larger scale. Once the grid connections to the Sahara and the Gobi Desertec projects are delivering massive amounts, that picture might change somewhat.

One other interesting point is that they expect price spikes to higher levels than now. If true, that would increase the value of stable supply from the Sahara and Gobi. So we get a positive feedback loop right there. More renewable capacity in the market leads to higher prices in the spike time zones, which in turn makes it more attractive to buy electricity from places far away.

No responses yet