Long-term power system planning

Conceptual issues and selected evidence from Europe, SEFEP staff: Loukianos Zavolas, June 2013

The issue of long-term power system planning, especially in the context of changing energy policy objectives, is a relatively new one, but it is generally acknowledged that it is of central importance in many regions around the world. The European Union (EU) in particular is pursuing ambitious decarbonisation policy objectives. However, there is only limited experience, let alone successful implementation, on procedural rules to structure longer-term energy system planning processes for the coming 20‒40 years.

The objective of this study is to lay out a methodology that structures the planning process, and to provide selected evidence from countries that are already moving into this direction or are close to adapting their institutional framework to do so soon. The study thus identifies the “building blocks” of energy system planning (such as assumption building, dispatch, stability analysis, network adjustment, etc.), and then applies this to nine European countries: Austria, Belgium, Great Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. In addition to these country case studies, the study describes network planning processes on the European level and in the Western Interconnection of North America.

Drawing on the case study evidence, it is argued that aspects related to integration (i.e., linkage with generation planning) as well as stakeholder involvement and participation are important elements of network and energy system planning processes in the power system decarbonisation context. The motivation for integration is that new objectives, also with respect to generation technologies, underline the interdependence of different parts of the electricity system. The involvement of stakeholders is driven by the fact that the broadening objectives of power system planning will drive an increase in the number of relevant stakeholders. To conclude, this study underlines the view that network planning processes are dependent from the overall power system planning objectives.

The report can be downloaded here.

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