Improving Data Exchange Between Wind Farms and Power System key to Cost-Effective Energy Transition

With increasing shares of distributed energy, seamless data exchange between power generation assets and grid operators is central to a cost effective management of the energy system. Clear guidance at EU level and consistent implementation at national level can reduce system operation costs. And they can make the EU power system more secure and reliable. In a new paper WindEurope recommends establishing a formal collaboration at EU level to address the technical challenges and ensure that countries are implementing efficient practices.

Europe wants more renewable energy. Member States have agreed to raise the EU 2030 emission reduction target from 40% to ‘at least 55%’. This means that the EU’s 2030 renewable energy target will also increase – from 32% today to 38%-40%. The EU estimates that this will require 433-452 GW of installed wind capacity by 2030 – almost a threefold increase on the 179 GW today.

This means system operators are managing a transitioning energy system with increasing shares of variable wind and solar. At the same time, the necessary electrification of the energy system requires the flexible integration of new types of loads such as electric vehicle charging points.

One of the key drivers of a more flexible energy system, digitalisation, also comes with risks notably cyber-attacks.

This in the context of the climate crisis which in itself puts pressure on the energy system as extreme weather events become more likely.

All these trends increase the need for efficient data exchange between the operators of renewable power plants (e.g., wind turbines) and the grid operator.

Grid operators need to create the right framework for collecting data from the operation of these assets. Modern wind turbines and their components already provide a variety of digital information including forecasted generation profiles and real-time parameters. But what information is required for a secure, reliable, and cost-efficient operation of the system?

Today there are big differences in approaches to data exchange from one country to another or from one grid operator to another. The EU Network Code on System Operation and its methodology for Key Organisational Requirements, Roles and Responsibilities (KORRR) that currently regulate data exchange don’t deliver harmonisation in practice.

In a new paper, WindEurope asks for enhanced high-level coordination and harmonisation of current practices. The wind industry recommends establishing a formal collaboration of Transmission System Operators (TSOs), Distribution System Operators (DSOs) and important grid users such as renewables and demand facilities. This collaboration should take place at EU-level and aim to define EU-wide standards for the amount and resolution of data exchanged between grid users and system operators.

Europe needs coherent and efficient rules for data exchange. This is key to the cost effective management of an energy system with high shares of variable renewables. These rules must continue to address local and country-specific needs while providing EU-wide applicable concepts. And they need to be viable for legacy systems that can still produce clean energy and support the wind industry’s commitment to sustainability.

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