Impact Of High RE Addition On Thermal Plants.

M Rajagopalan

When a substantial amount of renewable energy (RE) based installation is being planned, a pertinent question to ask is: “What capacity (MW) of conventional power plants will the additional RE installation help avoid investments in or, perhaps even, help in retiring some of the existing coal MW?

To explain, Tamil Nadu has an installed capacity of over 8000 MW of wind turbines. What is the capacity credit or comfort that this installed capacity offers? Investments in how many MW of coal plant capacity could be avoided? The honest answer is: “Zero MW”. That’s because there are many 15-minute time blocks in the year in which wind doesn’t blow at all. Despatchable capacity from conventional plants such as coal must not only be available in the form of installed capacity, but must be kept running (“spinning”), to back up the shortfall.


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May 2017