Vestas: Renewables Sector Should Be ‘Outraged’ at Footing Grid Upgrade Bill

PARIS — Laying the costs of integrating more variable power
into the grid at the feet of the renewable energy sector is an
“outrage,” a Vestas executive has said.

Morten Dyrholm, senior vice president at the world’s leading
maker of wind turbines, was responding to claims that
grid-integration costs undercut the notion that renewables can now
thrive without government support in many markets.

Speaking as part of a conference session at European Utility
Week, Dyrholm said the wind sector has worked hard to get to the
point of subsidy-free deployment.

Fellow panelist Dominique Jamme, managing director of the French
energy regulator CRE, said that as renewables grow from 30 percent
of the mix to 70 percent and beyond, the system costs required to
stabilize the grid weren’t being factored into claims that wind
and solar are viable without government support.

“[Subsidy-free] is the case for standalone PV and wind,” Jamme
said. “When you are at 20, 30 or 40 percent of the mix, other
sources of production do the work of providing flexibility and
balancing the network.” 

“But at 60, 70 and 80 percent you have the issue of sustaining
stability of the system. As you put in more renewables you are
adding cost,” Jamme added, before asking, “Who is going to pay
for the [energy] storage?”

Dyrholm, who leads Vestas’ marketing, communications and public
affairs efforts, responded strongly.

“I can’t help but feel a little bit outraged when people say,
‘But system cost,'” Dyrholm said. “It should be the other guys,
the fossil guys [that pay]. Their societal cost is enormous; [think
about] the amount of subsidies, the socialized costs [of fossil
fuels] that we’ve allowed to happen for generations.”

“And now we have finally become unsubsidized, and we have to
support system costs? In the meantime we let the young kids do the
hard work for us. They go on the streets. They go and fight for
change and we sit here as an industry and talk about ‘system
cost’?”

“We should be as outraged as them, and we should be united [as
an industry] in asking for change. We have a special obligation in
our industry, and I am not just saying that to sell more turbines.
I’m saying that on behalf of my kids. We need to be more outraged
when we see examples of something not working just because of the
regulations in place.”

Project developers cover system costs like grid connections in
many markets, and these are typically factored in when calculating
the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for new projects.

In most markets, additional costs to support renewables on the
network, including energy storage, are ultimately passed to
consumers and generators. Any increased charges on consumer bills
can become highly political.

Source: FS – Transport 2
Vestas: Renewables Sector Should Be ‘Outraged’ at Footing Grid Upgrade Bill



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