Integration by Cooperation

The aim of the project was to assess which forms and conditions of interaction can foster the integration of higher shares of distributed generation into the Austrian electricity grid.

Short Description

Status

completed

Abstract

Key priority of the European as well as the Austrian energy policy is to increase the share of electricity from renewable sources (RES) and from combined heat and power generation (CHP). As the share of electricity generation from these distributed sources (DG) rises, they can no longer be treated as a simple add-on, while the system as a whole remains unchanged. Distributed generators rather have to get fully integrated as essential parts into networks and markets.

For their successful integration, it is crucial that the independent power producers (IPP) interact constructively with the operators of the respective networks. Distribution system operators (DSO) can with their activities and attitudes crucially affect the economic feasibility of distributed generators, since they have to provide access to the network on the basis of certain conditions and are responsible for the structural development and appropriate operation of the networks.

The aim of the project ‘InteKoop' was to assess which forms and conditions of interaction can foster the integration of higher shares of distributed generation into the Austrian electricity grid. A survey of international experiences and discussions brought to light a number of instruments, which have been developed elsewhere to ease the integration of distributed sources by better coordination. Especially in the UK, distributed generation is recognised explicitly in the regulation of networks (use of system UoS charges,). Certain designs of support schemes (e.g. for RES and CHP) can foster cooperation between DSO and DG-operator too.

On the basis of diverse international examples, interviews with individuals from all relevant stakeholder groups have been conducted. These interviews covered possibilities and barriers for increased co-operation (between DSO and IPP) in order to make the integration of DG in Austria more efficient. From these stakeholder perspectives hypothesis have been derived and discussed in two stakeholder workshops. The results have been elaborated into recommendations for all relevant actor groups. Furthermore possibilities for the improvement of the legal framework of DG integration and the procedures of network regulation are pointed out with regard to a more consistent system of incentives.

We explored the possibilities for co-operation of DSO and IPP on two levels: Firstly we looked for strategies allowing the actors to mutually benefit from co-operation within the given legal framework. These possibilities turned out to be very limited. The scope for action is heavily determined by the legal framework and the procedures of network regulation (UoS Charges). Despite this fact, in all fields considered some ‘soft measures' and forms of co-operation could be identified, which could allow actors to ease the integration of higher shares of DG and reduce costs within the given framework. These measures predominantly concern improved communication on technical and market related issues and planning.

Further decentralisation of the Austrian electricity system is only possible without major disturbances if besides the IPPs, the DSOs too develop a motivation to increase the share of DG in their networks. A precondition therefore is that DG is intelligently and explicitly recognised in the regulation of UoS charges. Since any simple methodology of incentive regulation of networks tends to produce incentives against DG, tempting DSO to restrict the share of DG in their networks, it is necessary to design the regulatory scheme in such a way that these negative incentives get neutralised. On top of that, additional positive incentives should be considered to ‘activate' the DSO to support DG integration.

For the development and testing of appropriate procedures of network regulation, an ‘innovation zone' should be created. In such a pilot network area technical solutions of DG integration should be analysed in their interaction with newly developed and exemplarily implemented institutions and legal framework conditions.

Project Partners

Projektleader

Philipp Späth M.A.
IFZ Interuniversitäres Forschungszentrum für Technik, Arbeit und Kultur

Projectpartners

  • Öko-Institut e.V. Institut für angewandte Ökologie, Freiburg (Werkvertragspartner)
  • TU-Wien, Energy Economics Group (Werkvertragspartner)
  • E&E Consult GbR, Saarbrücken (Werkvertragspartner)

Contact Address

Philipp Späth M.A.
IFZ Interuniversitäres Forschungszentrum für Technik, Arbeit und Kultur
Schlögelgasse 2, A-8010 Graz
Tel.: +43 (316) 810274-22
Fax: +43 (316) 810274
E-Mail: spaeth@ifz.tugraz.at
Internet: Interuniversitäres Forschungszentrum für Technik, Arbeit und Kultur

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