Variability and variation management in a renewable electricity system -large-scale wind- and solar power deployment in Europe
Doktorsavhandling, 2017

The large-scale deployment of wind and solar power poses challenges to the electricity system by introducing variability on the generation side. To handle these variations, variation management strategies can be employed to ensure that generation meets demand. Such strategies include the deployment of storage and investments in wind and solar capacities in different regions connected by a network of transmission lines. This thesis investigates the interplay of such strategies, with special focus on the geographic distribution of wind power in Europe. The research questions addressed here include: To what extent can geographic distribution of wind power tailor aggregate output? What are the main characteristics of a cost-effective electricity system that is based on renewable energy? How does the system cost increase with the penetration levels of wind power and solar power? How should the time dimension be handled in electricity investment models that aim to design systems with a large share of variable renewable energy (VRE)? Five optimization models, characterized by comparatively high temporal resolution, are developed to answer these questions. Two of the models apply multi-objective optimization, whereby Conditional Value-at-Risk is used as a measure of the variation in wind power output/residual demand. Two of the models are network models that specifically target the effect of optimizing the transmission network so as to make better use of wind and solar power capacities. This thesis shows that the diverse weather patterns in Europe can be exploited to achieve effective smoothing of wind power, provided that there is sufficient transmission capacity to trade variations in generation and demand. Furthermore, it is shown that dispersing wind power and building transmission lines is the most cost-efficient strategy to design an electricity system with a large share of renewable generation. A system that contains a large share of variable renewables is also shown to be versatile, in the sense that it is possible to combine large-scale variable generation with considerable amounts of base-load generation, provided that the transmission network is enhanced. The marginal cost for generation from variable resources increases in an approximately linear fashion with the penetration level of such resources, up to a VRE penetration level of around 80%. The marginal cost for achieving a VRE penetration level of 80% is approximately 50% higher than the initial cost. It is concluded that if wind- and solar power capacity is to be allocated over the entire area of Europe, at the same time as the transmission network is expanded, the cost for a future power system with a high (~80%) penetration of VRE will not be prohibitive.

marginal cost of electricity


variability smoothing

solar power

power systems

renewable energy

wind power

energy systems modelling

Opponent: Dr. Nico Bauer, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany


Lina Reichenberg

Chalmers, Energi och miljö, Energiteknik

Maximizing Value of Wind Power Allocation: a Multi-objective Optimization approach

Proceedings 11th International Workshop on Large-Scale Integration of Wind Power,; (2012)

Paper i proceeding

Dampening variations in wind power generation-the effect of optimizing geographic location of generating sites

Wind Energy,; Vol. 17(2014)p. 1631-1643

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift

Geographic aggregation of wind power—an optimization methodology for avoiding low outputs

Wind Energy,; Vol. 20(2017)p. 19-32

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift

Reichenberg, L. Hedenus, F., Odenberger, M., Johnsson, F. Tailoring large-scale electricity production from variable renewable energy sources to accommodate baseload generation in Europe

Reichenberg, L. Hedenus, F., Odenberger, M., Johnsson, F. The marginal system LCOE of variable renewables – evaluating high penetration levels of wind and solar in Europe

Reichenberg, L., Siddiqui, A., Wogrin, S. How Should Power System Planning Models Represent Variability in Renewable Output? Policy Implications of Downscaling the Time Dimension


Annan teknik



Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola. Ny serie: 4327


Chalmers tekniska högskola


Opponent: Dr. Nico Bauer, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany