Getting green renewables into the grid
Today's clean, renewable energy is bringing power to millions with virtually no adverse environmental impact. An EU-funded project is modelling the power sector and assessing different scenarios for the further integration of green renewables into the electrical grid.
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The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is, and will remain, a vital goal globally for the coming decades. Currently, power generation is responsible for the largest amount of carbon dioxide emissions, making major mitigation efforts necessary in this area.
The EU-funded MERCURY project is completing and refining an integrated assessment model of the power generation sector. While still requiring more work, the model known as the 'World Induced Technical Change Hybrid' (WITCH) describes the power generation sector in great detail.
The MERCURY project team is mainly concerned with power grid integration. Also of key interest is the outstanding problem of how to store surplus electricity, and progress in the area of electricity trade is being studied.
The project also entails the employment of the improved WITCH model in the assessment of different power generation scenarios. Under analysis are the future prospects in Europe for renewable energy, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and nuclear power.
Researchers are particularly interested in purely technical aspects but also in wider policy issues. These include such things as the role of incentives in the diffusion of renewables, the slower-than-expected deployment of CCS, and the effects of ageing or of the phasing out of nuclear reactors.
MERCURY participants are also assessing, under a variety of scenarios, the role of new technologies and the consequent evolution of electricity infrastructure. In particular, they are looking at the potential effects of different levels of global participation in EU-led climate mitigation.
The project which has received funding from the EUs Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions programme will help pave the way for a more effective integration of renewable energy into the pan-European power grid.