[22] Miranda, R., Ferreira, P., Schaeffer, R., Szklod. A(2016) “Limitations of thermal power plants to solar and wind development in Brazil” Proceedings of ECOS2016- International Conference on Efficiency, Cost, Optimisation, Simulation and Environmental Impact of Energy Systems, June 19-23, 2016 Portoroz, Slovenia.


Some three fourths of electricity generation in Brazil come from renewables. Most of it is supplied by hydro, complemented by biomass-fuelled thermal power plants and wind, while solar is still irrelevant. However, in the medium and long terms, a strong growth is expected for wind and solar in the country. Solar and wind resources are variable in time, partially unpredictable and cannot be dispatched to meet the load. These characteristics require system flexibility, which is the capacity of the power grid to adapt to different supply and demand patterns. Given that most thermal plants are not designed for a large frequency of operating cycles, renewables penetration may result in higher maintenance and operating costs, increased fuel consumption and reduced lifetime. Furthermore, some units might be called out-off-merit to maintain voltage and frequency levels. This paper presents preliminary results on the ability of thermal units to provide flexibility to the country´s grid, through an analysis for the Northeast region bounded by transmission constraints among 65 nodes (out of 196 nodes along the country). Results show that the power sector in Brazil might not be well equipped to deal with high penetration rates of variable renewable energy sources, with impacts on the capacity factor, and on the efficiency, of thermal power plants in the country. They also reveal that while wind energy increases the need of ramping capabilities, solar has greater impacts on the number of starts and shutdowns of conventional units.

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