As a response to climate change, countries around the world have implemented ambitious targets for integrating renewable resources into existing electricity systems.

Reacting on the Russian invasion in the Ukraine and the energy crisis in Europe, the EU has put into force RePowerEU, an ambitious initiative with the aim to make Europe independent from fossil fuels “well before 2030” by increasing the renewables target for 2030 from 40% to 45% (amongst other measures like increases in efficiency, decarbonizing industry, and a diversification of the energy supply). The latter includes 320 GW additional PV capacity to be deployed by 2025 and almost 600 GW by 2030. 

This initiative has direct and indirect effects on the responsibilities of the grid planning and operation authorities in Europe. They are experiencing a rapid process of changing duties and giving up habits. The rising share of the variable renewables resources in the electricity supply system increase the system’s exposure to meteorological variability. On the one hand, this variability makes the operation of the system more complicated and defines new (additional) constraints on the design of the power system. On the other hand, it causes the necessity to include information about climate change in decision-making processes of the energy sector. Assets for the generation, transmission or storage of electricity, usually, have lifetimes between twenty and fifty years. During this period of time, meteorological conditions might change significantly, depending on how climate change evolves.

Use Case Overview

To ensure the security of supply, meaning the access to electricity for everyone, everywhere and at any time, the power system must be resilient to both, meteorological events happening on short time scales and climate change. As a response to that, many directives, which define rules, methodologies and responsibilities for/of grid planning and operation authorities, are currently being revised and updated. Databases widely used in the energy sector are currently being extended to include prospective meteorological information and information about the uncertainty of climate change. To cope with these changes, many stakeholders increase their research and development activities and seek for collaboration and exchange between different players but also across the energy and climate disciplines.

Fostering this collaboration and exchange is one of the aims of DestinE’s Use Case Energy Systems. Building upon a thorough user engagement strategy, DestinE and this use case provide tools and guidance to support the European Transmission and Distribution System Operators to fulfill their policy-mandates and to make a valuable, pro-active contribution to achieving the policy objectives defined by the EU parliament and member states.

DestinE contributes to improved energy system modelling for grid planning and resources adequacy assessment by mainly two means:

1. A more accurate and realistic representation of the variability of the renewable resources and, hence, their potential to contribute to the future power supply in a European energy system.

2. A more seamless integration of the climate and the energy model, avoiding intermediate steps and allowing for the representation of feedback loops 

One major concern about renewables is the occurrence of ramping events, the rapid and strong de- or increase in power generation from wind turbines and/or solar PV. These events put severe stress on the electricity grids. The proper handling of them has a high economic value for electricity suppliers and grid operators. Ramping events in PV and wind power are related to fast changes between cloudy and sunny conditions, and passing storm fronts, respectively.

Hence, DestinE’s capability to resolve clouds and storms with an hourly temporal resolution lead to a more realistic representation of them in the data used for power system applications and, consequently, increase reliability and trustworthiness of the data. Indeed, DestinE might become a major source for the meteorological input in energy system models applied in the user community in the future.

To support this, DLR and its partners use DLR’s energy system modelling capabilities to implement a representative demonstrator exemplarily showcasing the use of climate scenarios in grid planning and resources adequacy assessment applications. This implementation is complemented by the development of a set of user-friendly tools and methods to ease the integration of climate information and to support the users to make appropriate data choices.

The performance and the impact of these implementations and the new DestinE data are assessed by an observation-based data validation, a thorough sensitivity and uncertainty analysis and a user survey. Overall, DestinE’s Use Case Energy Systems investigates what a difference DestinE makes for energy systems modelling.

Update July 2023

Based on a user consultation process started during a User Needs Workshop organized by the Renewables Grid Initiative, the technical design of the Use Case has been specified further. Several European transmission and distribution system operators expressed their expectations on DestinE and helped defining the targeted functionalities of the Use Case’s Demonstrator. Concretely, the need for having access to validated data and for techniques to reduce the simulation efforts have been emphasized. To address this, tools are developed to select representative weather or climate periods from climate projections with uncertainty information and to assess the sensitivity of the European Adequacy Assessment (ERAA) on the meteorological input. These developments are made in close cooperation between DLR and Aarhus University.

As a first step towards the implementation of our Demonstrator, the Pan-European Climatic Data Base (PECD) and the Pan-European Market Modeling Data Base (PEEMDB) – the two data bases used by the European transmission system operators for their annual adequacy assessment – have been acquired and processed. This data is used for the energy system simulations and serve as a reference for all the following investigations. In particular, the data set includes information about the installed capacities for the generation, transmission and storing of electricity (Figure 2), and the time series for the demand for electricity in the European bidding zones (Figure 1) as well as the generation from the variable renewables resources wind (Figure 3), solar photovoltaics (Figure 4) and hydro (Figure 5). 

Figure 3: Onshore wind capacity factors for Germany, daily means. 
Figure 4: Solar PV capacity factors for Spain, daily means.
Figure 5: Daily average inflow in runoff river power plants in Austria.  

Update September 2023

We have now implemented the Pilot. This Pilot is an open-source implementation of ENTSO-E’S ERAA with the open energy system model REMix. Core element of the Pilot is a snakemake workflow, which downloads, extracts and pre-processes the relevant data sets, and simulates the European power system for a set of scenarios and weather years to assess the adequacy of the resources for meeting the projected demand. Additionally, the original capacity factors for wind and solar power obtained from the PECD can be replaced by two additional datasets: (i) the “ERA5 derived time series of European aggregated surface weather variables, wind power, and solar power capacity factors” from Bloomfield et al. [2021][1] published by the University of Reading (in the following referred to as “Reading” data set), and (ii)[2]. This allows to investigate the sensitivity of the power system simulations on the meteorological input. In the further course of the Use Case, this capability will be used to quantify how ERAA can benefit from the new DestinE data. All code will be made available from the Destination Earth github repository.

First simulations with the three different data sets lead to some remarkable differences in the adequacy of the resources as measured via the Loss of Load Expectation (LOLE). In Germany, for instance, the number of hours per year, during which the power system is unable to meet the local demands for electricity increases from 65 hours per year obtained from the simulations using the PECD to 117 hours per year using the Reading data set and to 221 hours per year using the data set, respectively. Similar differences can be found in UK, Ireland, and in the Northern and Baltic States. During the next months, the differences between the data sets and their impact on resources adequacy will be investigated in more detail.

Update December 2023

The last three months were used for automatizing our workflow further and for validating our model. We can now consider the most recent version of the PECD used for ERAA 2023 plus some additional scenarios for wind power capacity factors obtained from the Danish Technical University[3] and run simulations for all weather years available in the data sets (Figure 7) – well-structured and user-friendly in a snakemake workflow, prepared to use the first simulations of the Climate DT. To validate our model, we performed a benchmarking with the adequacy assessment model of one of the four German transmission system operators. Furthermore, we again made some efforts to engage with our core user community. As a first step of the Performance and Impact Assessment of our Use Case, we are preparing a User Perspective Survey and a User Perspective Workshop to be published in January and taking place early February, respectively.

Last but not least, we are happy to announce that our Use Case has been selected for contributing to the Visualisation & Immersive Technologies activities. In monthly meetings we are discussing how the results of our simulations can be used to visualize DestinE’s capabilities for integrated climate – energy systems modeling. In this context, ideas are being formulated for how machine learning techniques can be applied to derive first-guess power system simulations on-the-fly in the visualization tool.

Figure 6: a) daily average onshore wind power capacity factors in Germany obtained from the PECD plotted against the data obtained from (left) and Bloomfield et al. [2021] (right). b) resources adequacy obtained from the three data sets measured by the Loss of Load Expectation (LOLE) giving the number of hours per year during which the demand for electricity cannot be covered.

Figure 7: Yearly energy not served given in percent of the annual demand for Germany and the National Estimates 2030 scenario and for three different meteorological data sets.

Update April 2024

Early this year, we accomplished two further milestones of our Use Case: A User Perspectives online survey and a User Perspective workshop to collect feedback on the Use Case developments from energy system modelling experts.

The User Perspectives online survey was disseminated over a period of 6 weeks, in early 2024. A broad range of experts, including representatives from transmission system operators, consultancies, agencies and research centres, participated. A broad dissemination of the survey enabled to enrich the community of interested stakeholders, as most of the respondents were new to the DestinE Initiative (section 3.2.1).

The User Perspectives workshop was attended by a group of 30 experts from 18 organisations in the field of climate and energy system modelling. The participatory design of the User Perspectives Workshop allowed for important discussions between users and DestinE network. The stakeholders provided relevant feedback on how to further shape user-friendly tools and approaches. The stakeholders expressed the benefit of DestinE to their work, which offers both a platform of collaboration as well as technical support to understand, and account for, the impact of climate change on their specific applications.