Impact of thermal plant cycling on the cost-optimal composition of a regional electricity generation system
Journal article, 2017
A regional cost-minimizing investment model that accounts for cycling properties (i.e., start-up time, minimum load level, start-up cost and emissions, and part-load costs and emissions) is developed to investigate the impact of thermal plant cycling on the cost-optimal composition of a regional electricity generation system. The model is applied to an electricity system that is rich in wind resources with and without accounting for cycling in two scenarios: one with favorable conditions for flexible bio-based generation (Bio scenario); and one in which base load is favored (Base load scenario) owing to high prices for biomass. Both scenarios are subject to a tight cap on carbon dioxide emissions, limiting the investment options to technologies that have low or no carbon emissions. We report that in the Bio scenario, the cost-optimal system is dominated by wind power and flexible bio-based generation, whereas base-load generation dominates the Base load scenario, in line with the assumptions made, and the level of wind power is reduced. In the Base load scenario, 19% of the capacity is cycling-dependent, i.e., for this share of installed capacity, the choice of technology is different if cycling properties are included, compared to a case in which they are omitted. In the Bio scenario, in which flexible bio-based generation is less costly, 9% of the capacity is cycling-dependent. We conclude that it is critical to include cycling properties in investment modeling, to assess investments in thermal generation technologies that compete at utilization times in the range of 2000–5000 h.
Electricity system model