Case studies

The project will provide a proof of concept through different historical case studies pointed as the most relevant by the industrial partners. For example, periods with an unusual climate behaviour that have affected the energy market will be analysed. The case studies will help to define the Decision Support System (DST) for its use in real life decision-making in energy companies. This will be co-designed with the industrial partners of the consortium which represent different needs and interests in terms of regions, renewable energy sources (namely wind, solar and hydro) and electricity demand. The aim of the case studies is to illustrate with real situations the potential benefits of applying S2S forecasts in the energy sector.

Four case studies have been initially identified, although four additional ones will be selected during the course of the project.

Winter 2016-2017 (December)

  • Interested partners: EDF and EnBW
  • Interest: Cold wave in Europe that created a combination of large increase in electricity demand and lower than usual hydro and wind power generation.
  • Description: With the increase in the share of electricity generated by renewable sources and the rapid reduction of generation capacity from incumbent energy sources, the European energy system has become highly sensitive to extreme weather events. Cold events in winter have strong impacts on the power system. They are often due to blocking events that combine cold temperatures, no precipitation and low wind speed, then implying large electricity demand, and lower than usual hydro and wind power generation. In France, under the national regulation authority request, EDF had to stop several nuclear reactors to carefully check some components. The total available generation capacity in France was significantly decreased. Electricity demand and power generation forecasts were then very important to assess the risks on the French and the European systems. Several options can be activated in such situations, but need as accurate as possible forecasts to optimize decision-making and to take the best option(s).

July 2013

  • Interested partner: EnBW
  • Interest: High pressure system over central Europe that originated large electricity demand, higher than normal solar generation and low precipitation rates.
  • Description: With nearly 39 GW of installed photovoltaic capacity, periods of high solar radiation during summer in Germany may shift the energy mix considerably. During these periods of elevated solar generation, expensive conventional power plants may be shut down, with a downturn in the energy trading market as a consequence. In this context, coal power plants are typically used as a backup to ensure security of supply. In Germany, coal supply is largely based on hydro transport which is dependent on river navigability associated with precipitation levels. In this specific case, the very low precipitation levels, may, if prolonged, restrict transportation capacity on major waterways like the Rhine and Neckar rivers. This is of particular relevance for EnBW since it transports coal mainly per barge to several power plants along the aforementioned rivers for conventional power supply.

September 2016

  • Interested partners: EDPR and NNERGIX
  • Interest: Below normal wind power generation.
  • Description: According to the Spanish TSO, in 2016 the installed wind power capacity represented 22.8% of the total capacity for electricity generation in Spain, and wind energy supplied 19.2% of the demand. This high level of wind power penetration that can have a significant impact on the energy market in periods with lower than normal wind power output. This event was determined by two factors: the increase of the frequency of occurrence of the NAO+ weather regime, with a negative impact on wind speed on southern and central Europe concurrently to the decrease of the frequency of the Atlantic ridge regime, with a positive impact on wind speed. The frequency of the other two regimes (NAO- and blocking) didn't deviate from the climatology value. As a result, a notable decrease of wind speed was observed through all central and southern Europe.

July 2015

  • Interested partner: Vattenfall
  • Interest: Spring flood in Sweden.
  • Description: In July 2015, a combined snowmelt and rain caused a lot of unproductive release of reservoir water in Umeälven. The reservoir was not managed appropriately without releasing enough water earlier in June/July. This was due to inaccurate hydrological forecasts that predicted a lot of remaining snow for melting. In the first weeks of July, the melting runoff stopped due to low temperatures. However, there was still some snow available which flowed to the reservoir later. The lack of accurate information about snow availability resulted in a significant economic loss for hydropower generators. This case study will investigate to which extent improved hydrometeorological forecasts offered from the DST could have reduced the water loss during the spill event. The case study will be developed in collaboration with the stakeholders Vattenfall AB, Sweden’s largest hydropower producer, owning several power plants in the river studied, and with Vattenregleringsföretagen AB, who coordinates the production and reservoir management in rivers.