The University of Southampton

Harvesting renewable energy to produce electricity

Published: 12 May 2008

The first of a new series of ECS Energy Lectures takes place on Wednesday 14 May with a presentaton by Professor Mark O'Malley of University College Dublin.

Renewable energy has the potential to simultaneously reduce Ireland’s harmful emissions and improve its security of supply. This presentation will concentrate on renewable energy for the bulk production of electricity. The renewable resources will be introduced and costs characteristics will be compared. These comparisons are limited as they do not take into account the need to harvest this energy via the electricity network (i.e. the grid) and the associated technical issues of integration of these renewable resources. Variable renewable resources such as wind, wave and solar pose particular challenges due to the need to maintain real time supply demand balance i.e. frequency control. These issues will be developed further and the need for reserves and flexible plant will be discussed.

In addition the capacity value concept will be introduced and the role of forecasting, storage and inertia will be described. The reasons for curtailing renewable energy resources (i.e. dumping the energy) will be briefly illustrated. Further harvesting challenges e.g. network development will be briefly covered before the results of a full techno economic analysis of grid integrated wind power in Ireland are given and the other relevant renewable grid integration studies will be highlighted. The opportunity for Ireland to lead the world in the development of solutions to the harvesting of renewable energy will be highlighted before conclusions and further work are put forward for consideration.

Prof O'Malley is the Professor of Electrical Engineering at University College Dublin (UCD) and the Director of the industry supported Electricity Research Centre. He is a member of the Engineering Sciences Panel of the European Research Council and a Member of the IEEE Ethics and Member Conduct Committee. He is a technical consultant to the All Island Grid Study and regularly consults to clients in the Electricity Industry.

The lecture begins at 4 pm in the Nightingale Lecture Theatre, with tea and biscuits available from 3.30 pm. All are welcome.

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