An investigation into how renewable energy can be successfully integrated into the Irish electrical transmission system
Policy makers worldwide are currently promoting the use of renewable energy sources as concerns over global climate change continues to grow. These resources are substantial, and in particular wind energy, which could in theory supply all of the electricity demand of the US and northern Europe, whilst also acting as a means of meeting emissions reduction targets. However, these resources are by no means perfect as their intermittent character presents formidable barriers to their utilisation on the scale required by a modem industrial economy. The integration of increasing levels of renewable power, mainly wind, combined with the deregulation of electricity markets have resulted in some unconventional operation of base load units. These units have been designed to operate continuously and are therefore not suitable for flexible or cycling operation which results in a physical degradation of the unit’ s components and increased costs for the plants operators. In contrast, the combination of a wind energy generator and energy storage possess the potential to produce a source of electricity that is functionally equivalent to a base load coal or combined cycle gas turbine power plant without the aforementioned increased operational and maintenance costs. In this paper a model was developed to assess the impact of combining wind generation and dedicated large scale energy storage to form a base load wind energy system capable of providing the base load required by Ireland. In order to complete such as assessment, the impact of the proposed system on the conventional thermal plant mix, demand profile and net load of a power system are presented. Additionally, the benefits and savings of such a system including the fuel savings and emissions benefits are highlighted.
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