Modern power systems are undergoing a transitional phase, increasingly incorporating variable generation (VG) to harness the economic and environmental benefits of renewable energy sources. The main challenge with this transitional phase is the management of the increased variability in the power balance. Legacy operation and planning practices are gradually seen as becoming inadequate or ill-adapted in addressing this challenge. One particular gap the in state of the art, which is of a great importance, is estimating the operational flexibility potential of individual power system assets and their aggregation at the system level. System operators need to evaluate and plan ahead flexibility adequacy for their power systems in order to ensure feasible and economical operation under high VG penetration. Likewise, asset owners need to integrate the notion of asset flexibility as part of their investment and operations decisions. To this end, we propose the concept of the flexibility envelope to describe the flexibility potential dynamics of a power system and its individual resources in the operational planning timeframe. We demonstrate that the resulting envelope dynamics can be a starting point for flexibility adequacy planning in systems with highly variable generation.
Published November 2014 , 18 pages