Advanced power plant flexibility

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This campaign concluded in May 2018 but some of the work continues via the Power System Flexibility Campaign.

The Advanced Power Plant Flexibility (APPF) Campaign was launched at the eighth Clean Energy Ministerial in Beijing, China as a joint effort of the 21st Century Power Partnership and the Multilateral Solar and Wind Working Group. It was co-lead by China, Denmark and Germany. APPF sought to build strong momentum and commitment from governments and industry to implement solutions that make power generation more flexible, offering opportunities to leverage international experience for enhancing the impact of domestic policies and actions, and for improving planning processes. The campaign concluded successfully at the ninth Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM9) in Copenhagen, Denmark and will continue as the Power System Flexibility Campaign.

The goal

In many power systems, regulation, market design, and contractual arrangements may encourage an inflexible operation of power plants. As a result, a tremendous amount of technically available flexibility remains unexploited in practice. In addition, there is a considerable body of experience on how to assess power plant flexibility and how to increase technical capabilities cost-effectively; however, many stakeholders are unaware of the tools and solutions for enhanced power plant flexibility, or have difficulty assessing the costs and benefits. The Campaign sought to bridge this information and transparency gap by facilitating an exchange where policy makers, utilities, manufacturers, and regulators can share experiences and establish best practices for regulatory, technical, and market solutions that enhance power plant flexibility. The Campaign offered opportunities to leverage international experience for enhancing the impact of domestic policies and actions and for improving planning processes.

Clean Energy Ministerial countries seek to unlock flexibility of power systems

advanced power plant flexibility cleanenergyministerial 0

The opportunity

The APPF Campaign specifically served to overcome the barriers to the deployment of renewable energy technologies by elevating innovative policies and solutions from the technical level to the highest political level. The campaign’s objectives were:

  • To integrate variable renewable energy. The growth of variable renewable energy capacity calls for increased system flexibility. Flexible dispatchable power plants are a main source of flexibility in power systems, alongside grids, demand shaping, and storage.
  • To unlock the flexibility potential. In many power systems, regulations, market design, and contractual arrangements may encourage an inflexible operation of power plants.
  • To optimize the utilization of generation assets. A better understanding of the capabilities that are needed in the power system of the future can foster a better use of existing power generation assets.
  • To highlight today’s success. Many countries are demonstrating that a flexible power supply can successfully deal with fluctuations in supply and demand.

Campaign actions

The campaign facilitated a unique global dialogue to allow learning from best practices, discussions on the necessary broader regulatory, market, and contractual framework, and optimization of the utilization of existing generation assets.

Activities included:

  • September 18, 2017: International kick-off workshop in Paris, France.
  • November 1, 2017: Workshop for policy-makers, technical experts, and industry representatives in Berlin, Germany, followed by a two-day study trip.  
  • March 6-8, 2018: Workshop and study tour in Dalian, China.
  • April 16-23, 2018: Series of four regional workshops on power system flexibility with dedicated sessions on advanced power plant flexibility.
  • May 2018: Final workshop and study tour in Copenhagen, Denmark as part of the conclusion of the campaign.
  • May 2018: Launch of APPF reports:
    • Status of Power System Transformation 2018 – Advanced Power Plant Flexibility
      A joint report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
      Download the full report
      Download the policy-makers’ summary
    • Joint Sino-Danish Report “Thermal Plant Flexibilty 2018″
      Co-authored by the Danish Energy Agency (DEA), Electric Power Planning and Engineering Institute (EPPEI), China National Renewable Energy Centre (CNREC), Danish TSO Energinet, and Ea Energy Analyses (Ea), with support from the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF)
      Download the full report
  • May 2018: Public-private roundtable discussion with Ministers, other Heads of Delegation, and senior private sector executives at the ninth CEM.
  • May 2018: Announcement of the APPF’s continuation through the Power System Flexibility CampaignThis campaign will advance the work of the APPF by broadening its scope to consider the full range of system flexibility resources – generation, grids, storage, and demand-side response.