Wind power and solar photovoltaics (PV) are crucial to meeting future energy needs
while decarbonising the power sector. Deployment of both technologies has expanded
rapidly in recent years, one of the few bright spots in an otherwise bleak picture
of clean energy progress. However, the inherent variability of wind power and solar
PV raises unique and pressing questions. Can power systems remain reliable and cost-effective
while supporting high shares of variable renewable energy (VRE)? And if so, how?Based
on a thorough review of the integration challenge, this publication gauges the economic
significance of VRE integration impacts, highlights the need for a system-wide approach
to integrating high shares of VRE and recommends how to achieve a cost-effective transformation
of the power system.This book summarises the results of the third phase of the Grid
Integration of VRE (GIVAR) project, undertaken by the IEA over the past two years.
It is rooted in a set of seven case studies, comprising 15 countries on four continents.
It deepens the technical analysis of previous IEA work and lays out an analytical
framework for understanding the economics of VRE integration impacts. Based on detailed
modelling, the impact of high shares of VRE on total system costs is analysed. In
addition, the four flexible resources which are available to facilitate VRE integration
– generation, grid infrastructure, storage and demand side integration – are assessed
in terms of their technical performance and cost-effectiveness.