How to balance wind power

balancing wind power

Capturing 20% of the global technical potential of wind power would satisfy the entire world’s need for energy [1]. That’s a very tempting thought as wind power is a clean and local source of energy.

The year 2020 was an all-time best for the global wind industry, as 93 GW of new capacity was installed – a 53 % year-on-year increase [2]. In Europe alone, a total of 220 GW of wind power, representing nearly a third of the world’s total capacity, was installed by 2020 [3]. Denmark had the highest share of wind (48%), followed by Ireland (38%) and Germany (27%). Wind energy already met over 16% of demand across the EU and the UK.

The challenge, however, is that wind generation is variable and uncontrollable [4]. In other words, it is volatile (constant fluctuations) and intermittent (frequently unavailable), which makes integration and operation of wind energy a difficult task for system operators who operate the power grid. The generation variability only increases with more wind power in the system [5]. controls buildings to use more electricity while wind energy production is high and less energy while the production is low. As wind power has the most decarbonisation potential per MW, we shift our consumption from CO2-intensive hours to hours with lower CO2-intensity, boosting the CO2-reduction of every single installed wind turbine.

In a world in which electricity consumption even in developed countries can double in 2050 compared to 2020 levels [6], the electricity supply will be dominated by renewable energy sources, especially wind energy in the northern hemisphere. The increase in electricity consumption is mainly based on the electrification of nearly every industry sector – with the building sector being at the front row. Controlling the consumption in a way that makes sense for the whole energy system can make a difference in how much renewable energy we can actually produce. 

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[1] Archer, C.L.,Jacobson, M.Z.,2005.Evaluation of global wind power.J.Geophys. Res.110.

[2] GWEC, 2021. Global Wind Report 2021

[3] Windeurope, 2020. Wind energy in Europe 2020 Statistics and the outlook for 2021-2025. Windeurope, Brussels

[4] J. E. S. de Haan, J. Frunt, and W. L. Kling, “Mitigation of Wind power Fluctuation in Smart Grids,” 2010, pp. 1–8.

[5] P. Sorensen, N. A. Cutululis, A. Vigueras-Rodriguez, L. E. Jensen, J. Hjerrild, M. H. Donovan, and H. Madsen, “Power Fluctuations From Large Wind Farms,” IEEE Trans. Power Syst., vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 958–965, Aug. 2007.

[6] McKinsey & Company: “Global Energy Perspective 2021”. 2021.

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