Fossil power plants more flexible than previously assumed
Fossil power plants can react much more flexibly to large feed-ins of power from renewables than studies have indicated, writes Jakob Schlandt in an article in Tagesspiegel Background Energie & Klima. The newspaper's calculations showed that the output of conventional power plants reached all-time lows during times of prolonged negative power prices in autumn 2017 and over the Christmas holidays. “When the price drop hurts enough, many plants go off the grid completely,” writes Schlandt. Lignite plants’ output for example dropped below 5 gigawatts (GW), where 7 gigawatts had been usual, he writes. Eastern German lignite power plant operator LEAG said in a press release that it had flexibly ramped up and down its plants according to the volatile feed-in of renewable power over the holidays. “At the moment, our LEAG power plants react highly flexibly to the renewed high wind power feed-in,” said board member Hubertus Altmann.
For background, read the CLEW factsheets How can Germany keep the lights on in a renewable energy future?, Germany's electricity grid stable amid energy transition, and Why power prices turn negative.