A new report published by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) finds that the capacity of the European power system to absorb significant amount of wind power is determined more by economics and regulatory rules than by technical or practical constraints.
Says Corin Millais, chief executive of the EWEA: “Already today a penetration of 20% of power from wind is feasible without posing any serious technical or practical problems.”
The study analysed the technical, economic and regulatory issues concerning the large scale integration of wind energy into European energy markets and finds that uncompetitive markets are a significant barrier to new technologies such as wind.
The European Commission has concluded that current electricity markets are not competitive for four main reasons: lack of cross-border transmission links; existence of dominant, integrated power companies; biased grid operators; and low liquidity in wholesale electricity markets. These four
Barriers, says the EWEA, are also the main institutional and structural deficiencies preventing new technologies entering the market.
“Wind energy does face barriers – not because of its variability but because of a series of distortions and institutional deficiencies in European electricity markets that are neither free nor fair,” says Millais, adding: “The reason why wind is not more fully deployed across is Europe is because of structural and market flaws, not technical issues”.
The report makes a number of recommendations to solve these issues including:
- Reduction of market dominance and abuse of dominant positions;
- Effective competition policies in the power sector;
- Full legal and ownership unbundling between transmission/distribution, production and trading activities;
- Improvement and expansion of cross-border interconnections between Member States;
- Undistorted third party access to the grids at fair tariffs and removal of discriminatory practices;
- Adequate grid codes that reflect the nature of the technologies.
The report also finds that major issues for the integration of wind power include changed approaches in operation of the power system, connection requirements for wind power plants to maintain a stable and reliable supply, extension and modification of the grid infrastructure, and influence of wind power on system adequacy and the security of supply.