Energy, Vol.163, 100-114, 2018
Cost optimal scenarios of a future highly renewable European electricity system: Exploring the influence of weather data, cost parameters and policy constraints
Cost optimal scenarios derived from models of a highly renewable electricity system depend on the specific input data, cost assumptions and system constraints. Here this influence is studied using a techno-economic optimisation model for a networked system of 30 European countries, taking into account the capacity investment and operation of wind, solar, hydroelectricity, natural gas power generation, transmission, and different storage options. A considerable robustness of total system costs to the input weather data and to moderate changes in the cost assumptions is observed. Flat directions in the optimisation landscape around cost-optimal configurations often allow system planners to choose between different technology options without a significant increase in total costs, for instance by replacing onshore with offshore wind power capacity in case of public acceptance issues. Exploring a range of carbon dioxide emission limits shows that for scenarios with moderate transmission expansion, a reduction of around 57% compared to 1990 levels is already cost optimal. For stricter carbon dioxide limits, power generated from gas turbines is at first replaced by generation from increasing renewable capacities. Non-hydro storage capacities are lily built for low-emission scenarios,in order to pro-vide-the necessary flexibility to meet peaks in the residual load. (C) 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.