The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has conducted an extensive analysis of the innovation landscape for the integration of variable renewable power; mapping and categorising the many examples of innovation and innovative solutions across the globe.
Innovation is the engine, which powers the global energy transformation. Around the world, the pace of developing and introducing better, more efficient renewable energy technologies is accelerating. Renewables are becoming the go-to option for many countries in their transition towards a secure, cost-effective and environmentally sustainable energy supply.
In recent years, far-sighted governments and pioneering companies around the world have been creating, trialing and deploying a multitude of innovative solutions that have the potential to radically transform energy systems across the world. Countries such as Denmark, Germany, Portugal, Spain and Uruguay have proven the feasibility of managing annual renewable energy (RE) shares higher than 25 per cent in power systems. The RE share in Denmark reached 53 per cent 2017.
-Related solution: As global demand increases, electricity demand stall in advanced economies
Innovations to facilitate renewable energy integration
According to the report, a large number of innovative solutions that can be used to integrate high RE shares are emerging and being implemented worldwide. IRENA’s study maps the relevant innovations, identifies the synergies and formulates solutions for integrating high shares of RE into power systems as a result of implementing these innovations. These innovations have been grouped and mapped in categories, resulting in a suite of 30 innovations. The study also demonstrates that innovations are emerging across four key dimensions of the world’s power systems:
- Enabling technologies: Technologies that play a key role in facilitating the integration of renewable energy.
- Business models: Innovative models that create the business case for new services, enhancing the system’s flexibility and incentivising further integration of renewable energy technologies.
- Market design: New market structures and changes in the regulatory framework to encourage flexibility and value services needed in a renewable-based power energy system, stimulating new business opportunities.
- System operation: Innovative ways of operating the electricity system, allowing the integration of higher shares of variable renewable power generation
A series of briefs accompanying this report aim to help readers assess the benefits, risks and suitability of each innovation for any specific context.
Download the report here.