In a paper published in Nature Climate Change, we used a combination of a meteorological understanding of weather regimes and our Renewables.ninja wind and PV generation time series to show that by smart spatial deployment of future wind farms, based on our knowledge of weather regimes, it is possible to keep the European wind fleet’s multi-day variability to levels the power system is already dealing with today.
Why is this important? In the figure above, the thick lines are the 5-day moving averages. In simple terms, we could say that is the kind of variability not easily handled by adding storage such as batteries to the system.
It is well-known that the variability of renewable power generation happens on different scales - ranging from seconds and minutes to days, seasons, and years:
The time scales longer than a few days are critical for higher penetration of renewable generation, but still poorly researched. Our study provides some confidence that we can balance multi-day fluctuations quite well, even without requiring large amounts of storage.
The study’s main author Christian Grams has written a much more extensive post on the results.
The full paper is available on the Nature Climate Change website.
Christian M. Grams, Remo Beerli, Stefan Pfenninger, Iain Staffell and Heini Wernli (2017). Balancing Europe’s renewable electricity through spatial deployment informed by weather regimes. Nature Climate Change. doi: 10.1038/nclimate3338