Assessing the economics of large Energy Storage Plants with an optimisation methodology

Article English OPEN
Locatelli, Giorgio ; Palerma, Emanuele ; Mancini, Mauro (2015)
  • Publisher: Elsevier BV
  • Journal: Energy, volume 83, pages 15-28 (issn: 0360-5442)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1016/j.energy.2015.01.050
  • Subject: Energy(all) | Pollution

Power plants, such as wind farms, that harvest renewable energy are increasing their share of the energy portfolio in several countries, including the United Kingdom. Their inability to match demand power profiles is stimulating an increasing need for large ESP (Energy Storage Plants), capable of balancing their instability and shifting power produced during low demand to peak periods. This paper presents and applies an innovative methodology to assess the economics of ESP utilising UK electricity price data, resulting in three key findings. Firstly the paper provides a methodology to assess the trade-off “reserve capacity vs. profitability” and the possibility of establishing the “optimum size capacity”. The optimal reserve size capacity maximizing the NPV (Net Present Value) is smaller than the optimum size capacity minimizing the subsidies. This is not an optimal result since it complicates the incentive scheme to align investors and policy makers' interests. Secondly, without subsidies, none of the existing ESP technologies are economically sustainable. However, subsidies are a relatively small percentage of the average price of electricity in UK. Thirdly, the possibility of operating ESP as both as a reserve and do price arbitrage was identified as a mean of decreasing subsidies for the ESP technologies.
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