Renewable energies, in particular wind and solar, are called to play a fundamental role in the transition towards decarbonised energy systems to curb climate change. However, its integration into development plans is compromised due to the intermittency of its production, subject to the natural variability of environmental conditions.
To face this challenge, an international study led by researchers from the University of Murcia and the Interdisciplinary Thematic Platform (PTI) Climate and Climate Services of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), in Spain all these entities, proposes a strategy , based on the analysis of the natural variability of resources, to plan a deployment of wind and photovoltaic solar installations that optimize their space-time complementarity and minimize fluctuations in the joint production of both energies.
The result of the research has been put into practice with the creation of a free access tool called Climax. This is a model that identifies regions with a similar temporal variability of both resources (solar and wind) and determines the optimal shares of each technology in said regions. That is to say, it looks for those places where solar and wind energy can be used to the maximum from a perspective that is not individual, but joint. According to the researchers, an optimal location of the installations of each technology would reduce up to 60% the monthly anomalies of the total production of wind and solar electricity.
Despite the experimental and pilot nature of the application, the mere development of this tool represents a substantial advance compared to previous works that provided strictly academic research on the complementarity of both energies. “We present a new methodology based on climate science to reduce the unwanted intermittency of joint solar and wind generation, with the aim of helping to plan the deployment of new renewable production units,” explains the team, led by Sonia Jerez. (University of Murcia).
In this sense, the researchers consider that the European regions included in the analysis should make efforts in their energy policies towards the deployment of more solar installations in order to reduce the month-to-month volatility of the combined wind-solar production. “The benefits would be enormous, especially for regions of southern Europe and at a continental level,” they conclude.
Top of a wind turbine. (Photo: Amazings/NCYT)
Climax tool can be accessed in this link
The study is titled “An Action-Oriented Approach to Make the Most of the Wind and Solar Power Complementarity”. And it has been published in the academic journal Earth’s Future. (Source: Javier Frégola / PTI Clima / CSIC)