Implementing power system flexibility starts with engaging policy makers: IEA


Power system flexibility, the ability to respond quickly to changes in electricity supply and demand, is key to energy transformation. Policy makers and industry leaders around the world are fully aware of the importance of flexibility, but the pertinent questions are how flexibility can be implemented and which decision makers should be involved, according to IEA’s article, The who and how of power system flexibility.

Taking the appropriate action to deploy power system flexibility will require each country to identify when policy makers can intervene to facilitate the transition. These changes can be categorised into three high-level measures:

  1. Set energy strategies with broad targets that include power system flexibility. For example, the People’s Republic of China has set a target for 220GW of thermal power plants to have flexibility retrofits by 2020.
  2. Establish legal frameworks to define the structure of the electricity industry. Legal frameworks provide guidance on the roles and responsibilities in the power sector. This allows the participation of distributed energy resources in the power system to enhance flexibility, as in the case of Singapore’s Open Energy Market.
  3. Implement policies and programmes to test specific technology approaches. For example, in Italy, a feasibility study was conducted for a “Virtual Storage System” involving batteries and solar PV systems. The study proved that while there was a strong business case for such a system, current retail tariffs disincentivised flexibility services. New regulations will therefore need to be developed.

It is equally important to identify when and how other stakeholders, such as regulatory agencies, system operators and electric utilities, need to be engaged in the process of implementing power system flexibility. Accelerating the energy transition for increasingly complex and decentralised power systems will require a deeper conversation with stakeholders to get an idea of what is possible.

For more information on how to implement power system flexibility, read the full article, The who and how of power system flexibility.

Have you registered for SIEW 2019? Join us at the Singapore - International Energy Agency Forum on 30 October 2019, which will examine current energy dynamics and challenges in Southeast Asia, including system flexibility. We look forward to seeing you from 29 October to 1 November 2019!


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