In every newsletter we challenge each of the work package leaders to present their vision for the HydroFlex project. We hereby present the team of WP 2 Definition of scenarios and reference:
The European power system is currently facing fundamental changes due to climate policy objectives. Caused by these changes, the transmission grid is meant to be more than just a connection between power plants and consumers. It is a Pan-European interconnected mesh which enables cross-border trade as well as a high security of supply. Thus, many research questions related to the European power system have to be solved from a Pan-European perspective. This applies for hydropower and demands put on hydropower as well.
Power transmission grids are not capable of storing significant amounts of electricity over a long period of time. That is why generation must always follow consumption or vice versa to ensure a fully balanced system. The European energy turnaround – which leads to a higher penetration with volatile feed-in – lets this become a sophisticated challenge. It leads to the fact, that flexibility in the power system must be understood both in spatial as well as temporal terms. Besides hydropower, there are numerous competing options for providing flexibility, such as gas-fired power plants, demand side management or options opened up by the increasing sector coupling to heat, gas and mobility sectors. However, hydropower plants are based on renewable energies and have been part of the electricity supply for over a hundred years. They can flex power generation comparatively easily and also have the ability to shift power generation through their huge amounts of long-term storage capacity. By making hydropower technology even more flexible than today – which is one of the main goals of the HydroFlex Project – these advantages could be extended and hydropower could play a decisive role in the future European power system.
Within the HydroFlex project, work package 2 aims to investigate the future role of hydropower in the European power system: What is the added value of more flexible hydropower with respect to a system perspective? What requirements will be placed on future hydropower plants? How can flexible hydropower contribute to a safe operation of the European power system?
To answer these questions, we are performing a variety of system studies focusing on flexibility which could be provided to the future European power system by future hydropower plants. To do so, we are in constant exchange with the other work packages. For example, we are using data provided by other disciplines, such as the specific characteristics of the flexible hydro power plants, which can be modelled more precisely in our electricity market and grid stability studies. On the other hand, we provide future feed-in schedules and start-stop cycles of hydropower plants in order to derive specific technical requirements or to be able to investigate local ecological effects. We can proudly say that the strong collaboration between the individual disciplines like electrical and mechanical engineering, biology and social sciences is one of the main advantages of the Hydroflex project. It makes a lively exchange between researchers possible and ensures that research on hydropower is driven forward from all relevant perspectives.