As part of its strategy to become a low-carbon region, the European Union aims to draw at least 27 percent of its energy from renewables by 2030. This translates into a share of some 50 percent in the power sector. Solar photovoltaics and wind power – driven by significant cost reductions – will almost certainly contribute to more than half of this share.
As wind and solar depend on weather, future power systems will be characterised by fundamentally different generation patterns to those observed today, significantly increasing the
need for flexibility and back-up capacity. In meeting the flexibility challenge, regional cooperation and power system integration offer important ways forward. Indeed, several regional power market initiatives exist throughout Europe that “live” cooperation on a daily basis. One of these initiatives is the Pentalateral Energy Forum (PLEF), a set of seven countries in Central Western Europe – Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland – that already have a track record of regional cooperation, coupled wholesale markets and a relatively high level of physical interconnection.
Against this background, we commissioned experts from Fraunhofer IWES to look deeper into the future of regional market integration for power systems with high shares of wind and solar: What kinds of flexibility requirements arise from the projected growth of these two technologies? And
to what extent can further power market integration within and beyond PLEF countries help meet the challenge?