Energy Community power system can support at least 30 GW of renewables without additional investments into flexibility

12 July 2022

As the energy transition advances in the Energy Community Contracting Parties, the share of power generation from variable renewables such as wind and solar will increase manyfold. The Energy Community power system with currently planned investments until 2030 can integrate as much as 30 GW of variable renewables without additional investments into flexibility sources, reveals an Energy Community study published today. Higher levels of variable renewables will require a more flexible power system to balance supply with demand, but investments will be substantially lower if existing cross-border infrastructure is better utilized and short-term electricity markets are operational and coupled with the EU.

Director Lorkowski said: “The energy transition is irreversible and today’s study shows that nothing should stand in the way of more renewables. Against the background of the energy crisis, we must look for cost-effective solutions to unlock higher renewables potential. Further electricity market integration is the clear way forward.”

The study assesses the flexibility needs and options to balance each Contracting Party’s power system on different time-scales (daily, weekly and annual) until 2030 and 2040 under different assumptions mainly linked to the speed of renewables uptake and level of market integration.

It identified that there will be no need for additional investments into flexibility sources until 2030 when variable renewables (wind and solar) might reach 30 GW. The study underscored the pivotal role of cross-border interconnectors and market coupling in providing the flexibility needed to enable higher penetration of renewables and decarbonisation in the Energy Community. Annualised investment needs/costs between 2030 and 2040 into additional flexibility sources will drop by as much as EUR 150 million if organised spot (day-ahead and intra-day) and balancing markets are coupled between the Contracting Parties and with the EU. Market integration will also allow the absorption of an additional 5 TWh per year of variable renewable production from the EU that would otherwise be curtailed.

The study concludes by setting out policy and regulatory recommendations to minimize overall system costs, including on energy sector governance, electricity market design, renewable energy development and carbon pricing. The Contracting Parties are recommended to define a flexibility strategy as part of their National Energy and Climate Plans.

The study was prepared by Trinomics and Artelys consultancies.