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Electricity pylons

INSIGHT_E research work currently focuses on the following topics:

Renewables' impact on electricity market design

Rapid Response Energy Brief 2

What could be the future design of electricity markets with a large share of renewable energy generation? 
INSIGHT_E paper on this topic upcoming

In a press conference which took place on December, 1st, 2014, the German utility E.ON annouced its decision to focus entirely on renewables, distribution networks and customer solutions, and to spin off conventional generation, global energy trading, exploration and production businesses. " In its statement, CEO Dr. Johannes Teyssen said that "Many European countries are developing a new market design that will better reflect the growing significance of renewables and the altered role of conventional generation. It isn’t a question of whether but rather of when they will adopt a new market design. The current situation is simply untenable. A market design that pays appropriate compensation for generating capacity that ensures supply security will create opportunities for our New Company. "


Shale gas prospects in Europe

Hot Energy Topic 3

 Hot Energy Topic (HET 3) on Shale gas prospects for Europe

Publication date: 4 February 2015

Lead Author: Stanislaw Nagy (AGH University, KIC InnoEnergy expert);
Authoring Team:  Thierry Badouard & Nathalie Desbrosses (Enerdata), Paul Deane & James Glynn (UCC); Reviewer: Aurélie Faure (Ifri)

Summary: This Hot Energy Topic (HET3) evaluates the prospects of shale gas exploitation in Europe by bringing together security of supply elements, technology breakthroughs and recent cost and resource estimates for shale gas. The paper assesses what needs to be considered if a full scale development of shale gas in Europe is to be envisaged. It draws from comparative elements with the US experience and from the Polish case, where most drilling has taken place.

On November 13th, 2014, the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) issued a statement on shale gas. The main message is that there is no scientific ground to ban shale  gas exploration or extraction using hydraulic fracturing in the EU since technologies to mitigate environmental, health and safety risks are available . However the statement outlines that shale gas  does not guarantee that shale gas will lead to energy security and a significant mitigation of climate change.

Read this extract from the conclusions of the report: "This EASAC analysis provides no basis for a ban on shale  gas exploration or extraction using hydraulic fracturing  on scientific and technical grounds, although EASAC  supports calls for effective regulations in the health,  safety and environment fields highlighted by other  science and engineering academies and in this  statement. In particular, EASAC notes that many  of the conflicts with communities and land use  encountered in earlier drilling and hydraulic fracturing  operations based on many single-hole wells have been  substantially reduced by more modern technologies  based on multiple well pads, which can drain up to  10 km2 or more of gas-bearing shale from a single pad.  Other best practices, such as recycling of flow-back  fluid and replacement of potentially harmful additives,  have greatly reduced the environmental footprint of  ‘fracking’. Europe’s regulatory systems and experience  of conventional gas extraction already provide an  appropriate framework for minimising disturbance  and impacts on health, safety and the environment. This analysis, however, also shows that while shale gas  may have significant global potential, it is no simple  ‘silver bullet’ to address energy security and climate  change. Indeed, the scale of the resource itself and the economic viability of its extractions in different Member States remain uncertain. Without exploratory drilling, this uncertainty will continue. Claims that shale gas exploitation would contribute to a net reduction in the warming from GHGs are largely based on the possibility of replacing coal in power generation by gas or of expanding gas use in transport. Such environmental benefits can, however, only be achieved through avoidance (or, where not possible, minimisation) of methane emissions at all stages—from the initial drilling, through the production phase and into the future after the well is closed and abandoned. To receive public acceptance, trust is critically important. Trust will in the end only be built by real projects, which prove the soundness of the technology and the reliability of the operations and operators. Through such projects, innovation based on empirical evidence and expertise can adapt and improve processes for the EU environment. Pilot projects need to be performed in Europe to demonstrate and test best practice methods and allow careful monitoring by the authorities."

Curtailment of renewables in the EU

Hot Energy Topic 2

 Hot Energy Topic (HET 2) on Curtailement : an option for cost-efficient integration of variable renewable generation?

Publication date: 22 January 2015

Lead Authors: Martin Steurer, Ulrich Fahl and Alfred Voß (University of Stuttgart);  Authoring Team: Paul Deane (UCC); Reviewer: Antoni Martinez and Alberto Ceña (KIC InnoEnergy experts)

Summary: This Hot Energy Topic report assesses whether it is necessary, in a future with a large share of renewable energies, to accommodate all of them in the system, or if it is more reasonable to curtail a small part of them. While high installed capacities of wind and solar energy in some EU regions frequently induce temporary local overproduction, curtailment could help to reduce necessary investments in storage and smart grids, which has to be weighted carefully against the loss of renewable production. This paper is based on the study of Germany, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and Italy, where the share of volatile renewables is particularly high. 

INSIGHT_E experts answer your questions… 

Martin Steurer from University of Stuttgart, Lead author of this Hot Energy Topic

What is the difference between technical and economic curtailment?

Technical curtailment occurs when local networks constraints or system wide security limits are reached (such as in Ireland or Spain, where interconnections are weak). The highest share of curtailment is observed in Ireland (due to the geographic situation).

Economic curtailment happens when renewable energy output is limited to reduce the costs for RE accommodation. The EU Directive 2009/28/EC recommends to minimize economic curtailment. Theorically, curtailment should happen up to the point when the marginal system cost of avoiding curtailment equals the marginal value of spilled energy (including externalities). It has to be assessed in the context of other relevant options for balancing variable renewable feed-in.

 Presentation of the paper by Martin Steurer. 

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The integration of energy networks

Rapid Reponse Energy Brief 1

What possible synergies in the integration of electricity, gas and heating and cooling networks?

INSIGHT_E has published its first Rapid Response Energy Brief (RREB 1) on "Synergies in the integration of energy net-works for electricity, gas, heating and cooling". This paper brings recommendations on how to promote hybrid networks which utilize the synergies of different technologies and energy forms, in order to achieve security of supply, to reduce emissions and to better cope with the demand.

Publication date: October 2014

Lead Authors: Lukasz Brodecki (USTUTT); Authoring team:  Jan Tomaschek (USTUTT); Ulrich Fahl (USTUTT); Javier Alonso (KIC-IE, Gas Natural Fenosa); Reviewer: Aurélie Faure (Ifri)

Executive summary: Steadily increasing power consumption and ambitious climate protection targets require new approaches for energy supplying structures. Among developments regarding increased energy efficiencies of specific tech-nologies, promotion of renewables and emission-free sources new solutions for a secure electricity, gas, heating and cooling provision must be found. The concept of a hybrid network endorses the utilization of interdependencies between different energy carriers and the corresponding technologies leading to synergy effects, which can have a significant impact on an energy system. The provision of flexible interconnectivity allowing load shifts in time and bridging the spatial discrepancy between energy supply and demand by smart grids will become essential for establishing an efficient hybrid network. Furthermore the hereby associated control and regulatory mechanisms as well as the required holistic approach for storage illustrate the complexity of an energy system in the future.

Presentation of the paper by Lukasz Brodecki, Lead author

The EU gas security of supply

Hot Energy Topic 1

What primary gas imports could be affected by the continued conflict between Russia and Ukraine?
And how to strengthen and diversify the EU's gas supply?

Read our first Hot Energy Topic (HET 1) on "Strengths and weaknesses of the European Union gas security of supply".

Publication date: September 2014

Lead Authors: Marie-Claire Aoun and Quentin Boulanger (IFRI); Authoring Team: Damir Pešut, Marko Matosović and Robert Bošnjak (EIHP); Paul Deane, James Glynn and Brian Ó Gallachóir (UCC); Reviewer: Nathalie Desbrosses (Enerdata)