Balancing renewable energy costs (Vol. 45 No.5-6)

Two weeks taken from the 2011 chronicle of the time dependence of the power demand in the French metropolitan territory.
Credit: Bonin et al.

Simulating the cost of generating a combination of electricity sources while accounting for the fluctuating nature of energy production and demand provides tools to optimise such energy mix.

Increasing reliance on renewable energies is the way to achieve greater CO2 emission sustainability and energy independence. Yet, because such energies are only available intermittently and energy cannot be stored easily, most countries aim to combine several energy sources. Now, in a new study, the authors have come up with an open source simulation method to calculate the actual cost of relying on a combination of electricity sources. They demonstrate that cost is not directly proportional to the demand level. Although recognised as crude by its creator, this method can be tailored to account for the public’s interest—and not solely economic performance—when optimising the energy mix.

B. Bonin, H. Safa, A. Laureau, E. Merle-Lucotte, J. Miss and Y. Richet, “MIXOPTIM: a tool for the evaluation and the optimization of the electricity mix in a territory”, Eur. Phys. J. Plus, 129, 198 (2014)