Journal article

Electrical hubs: An effective way to integrate non-dispatchable renewable energy sources with minimum impact to the grid

A paradigm change in energy system design tools, energy market, and energy policy is required to attain the target levels in renewable energy integration and in minimizing pollutant emissions in power generation. Integrating non-dispatchable renewable energy sources such as solar and wind energy is vital in this context. Distributed generation has been identified as a promising method to integrate Solar PV (SPV) and wind energy into grid in recent literature. Distributed generation using grid-tied electrical hubs, which consist of Internal Combustion Generator (ICG), non-dispatchable energy sources (i.e., wind turbines and SPV panels) and energy storage for providing the electricity demand in Sri Lanka is considered in this study. A novel dispatch strategy is introduced to address the limitations in the existing methods in optimizing grid-integrated electrical hubs considering real time pricing of the electricity grid and curtailments in grid integration. Multi-objective optimization is conducted for the system design considering grid integration level and Levelized Energy Cost (LEC) as objective functions to evaluate the potential of electrical hubs to integrate SPV and wind energy. The sensitivity of grid curtailments, energy market, price of wind turbines and SPV panels on Pareto front is evaluated subsequently. Results from the Pareto analysis demonstrate the potential of electrical hubs to cover more than 60% of the annual electricity demand from SPV and wind energy considering stringent grid curtailments. Such a share from SPV and wind energy is quite significant when compared to direct grid integration of non-dispatchable renewable energy technologies.

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