Energy conversion/Data uncertainties limitations
Parts of Energy conversion
|Component is implemented in:|
|Related IMAGE components|
The data for the model come from a variety of sources, the main of which are:
- Electricity production and primary inputs. Source: IEA Energy Statistics and Data
- Capacity of different plant types per region. Source: Enerdata Global Energy & CO2 Data; IEA Energy Statistics and Data
- Data on performance of fossil fuel and bio-energy fired plants. Source: Hendriks et al., 2004a, Hendriks et al., 2004b
- Prices. Source: IEA Energy Statistics and Data
- Hydropower potential. Source: WEC-hydro;
- Data on solar and wind costs - calculated as described by Hoogwijk et al., 2007
- Nuclear power - technology and resources. Source: WEC-Uranium; MIT
- Data on hydrogen technologies as described by Van Ruijven et al., 2007
Important uncertainties in the calculation of future energy conversion relate to development rates of the different conversion technologies and the consequences for the electricity system of a high level of market penetration.
For the United States and western Europe, the behaviour of the TIMER electric power model has been tested for different levels of market penetration of renewable energy (Hoogwijk et al., 2007). Model experiments show that the model is able to reproduce the behaviour of more detailed models that describe system integration costs. More recent studies, however, seem to suggest that some of the limitations in renewable energy penetration can be overcome against reasonable costs, implying the current description is rather conservative. Integration costs for renewable energy, however, are very uncertain, given the fact that, except for in a few countries, large shares of market penetration still would need to be achieved. In experiments run by (Van Vliet et al., 2013), the power system was exposed to all kinds of limitations of technology availability. These experiments clearly showed that, in order to achieve low stabilisation targets, a large portfolio of mitigation options should be available.
The TIMER model tries to describe long-term trends in the energy system. This implies that the focus is on rather aggregated factors that may determine future energy consumption and supply. In energy conversion, however, also many short-term dynamics can be of critical importance for the system such as the reliability of the system and its ability to respond to short-term demand fluctuations. These processes can only be represented in TIMER in terms of meta-formulations, implying that some of the integration issues regarding renewable energy remain unaddressed.
Another limitation includes the current formulation of conversion of primary fossil fuels into secondary fuels. At the moment, a module that describes these processes explicitly has not been included in TIMER.