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Additional network costs

The consequences of adding more wind power into the grid have been analysed in several European countries. The national studies quantify grid extension measures and the associated costs caused by additional generation and demand in general, and by wind power production in particular. The analyses are based on load flow simulations of the corresponding national transmission and distribution grids and take into account different scenarios for wind energy integration using existing, planned and future sites.

It appears that additional grid extension/reinforcement costs are in the range of 0.1 to 5 €/MWh wind, typically around 10% of wind energy generation costs for a 30% wind energy share. As for the additional balancing costs, the network cost increases with the wind penetration level. Grid infrastructure costs (per MWh of wind energy) appear to be around the same level as additional balancing costs for reserves in the system to accommodate wind power.

Table 7.1: Grid upgrade costs from selected national system studies.

Country Grid upgrade costs€/kW Installed wind power capacity GW RemarksPortugal    53 – 100    5.1 Only additional costs for wind power
Portugal 53 – 100 5.1 Only additional costs for wind power
The Netherlands 60 – 110 6.0 Specifically offshore wind
United Kingdom 45 – 100 8.0  
United Kingdom 85 – 162 26.0 20% wind power penetration
Germany 100 36.0 Dena 1 study

SOURCE: Holtinnen et al, 2007.

The costs of grid reinforcement due to wind energy cannot be directly compared, as circumstances vary significantly from country to country. These figures also tend to exclude the costs for improving interconnection between Member States. This subject is now being investigated by the TradeWind project, which investigates scenarios up to 2030.

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