Why It's Needed
To integrate variable renewable energy. Variable renewable energy (VRE) — such as wind and solar power — technologies differ from traditional power generation sources. Most important, their output fluctuates over time, driven by the varying availability of wind and sunlight. The growth of VRE capacity thus calls for increased system flexibility. Flexible dispatchable power plants are a main source of flexibility in power systems, alongside grids, demand shaping, and storage.
To highlight today’s success. Many countries are demonstrating that a flexible power supply can successfully deal with fluctuations in supply and demand. Power plants that were built to run around the clock are undergoing retrofits and seek new sources of revenue to encourage more dynamic operations.
To unlock the flexibility potential. In many power systems, regulations, market design, and contractual arrangements may encourage an inflexible operation of power plants. As a result, there is a tremendous amount of supply flexibility that is available from a technical perspective, but not exploited in reality.
To optimize the utilization of generation assets. A better understanding of the capabilities that are needed in the power system of the future can foster a better use of existing power generation assets. This will also lead to a heightened awareness of the complementarity of flexible generation sources and variable renewables, and demonstrate that they align in the collective effort to safeguard a cleaner, cost-competitive, and reliable power system.