Canada’s power system toward zero-emission targets, planning, operation, and flexibility options




Miri, Mohammad

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Canada has targeted to reduce carbon emissions in the power system by 30% until 2030 compared to 2005 levels. Zero-emission is also targeted for 2050. Many transition pathways can be followed to achieve these targets and are being followed by various regulations. One of the main paths is to incorporate variable renewable energy resources as high wind and solar irradiation potentials are proved Canada-wide. At the same time, other sectors are targeting similar targets which are mainly followed through electrification. Variability inherited from large wind and solar capacities and demand growth and change through electrification burdens power systems from both supply and demand sides. Flexibility is a requirement for the power sector to operate reliably to match variable wind and solar capacities with fluctuation and growing demand. Therefore, flexibility should be considered by policymakers when analyzing the transition toward a decarbonized power system. This thesis proposes linked frameworks to analyze flexibility issues in the outlined generation portfolios and to study a variety of power system flexibility options on the supply and demand sides. Two different frameworks are developed to interlink the power system capacity expansion planning model, production costs model, and building sector energy simulation model. These frameworks are also applied to analyze effectiveness and impact of the different flexibility options impacting various components of the power system, supply side, network, and the demand side. In the first iteration, flexibility issues stemming from the transmission system and shortage of storage systems are analyzed in an iterative interlinked model. In response, transmission expansion as costs and supply-side storage capacities as minimum constraints are fed to the expansion planning model. Results show that there are several flexibility issues uncovered by the technically detailed operational model. These issues are resolved by adding transmission and storage capacities to the system, posing the system extra expansion costs to reach a certain level of flexibility. The overestimation of the wind capacities is corrected when accounting for the transmission requirements. In the second iteration, the generation portfolio is outlined by various scenario inputs for electrified and non-electrified demand, and for zero-emission and non-capped emission scenarios. The outputs are analyzed in the operational model using a one-way linked data transfer for flexibility issues. Impacts from demand-side flexibility options, i.e., demand response, are analyzed using an iterative linked loop between the building sector energy simulation model and the operational model. The results show that the demand response programs have a significant impact on flexibility concluding to integrating more generation from wind and solar capacities. It is shown that a realistic representation of the impacts of demand response on the demand curve can cause some limitations in implementing demand response programs. Compared to supply-side options, demand response is discussed to require lower investment requirements to be implemented and even reduce the need for capital-intensive options on the supply side, like transmission and storage. In the last iteration, the integration of power systems is considered a flexibility option and assessed through the one-way linked framework of expansion planning and operational model. Input scenarios for transmission cap for systems’ integration and electrification in the demand are considered to be the most impactful variables in this study. The results show significant savings in costs and electricity prices by integrating the two selected power systems of Alberta and British Columbia. It is also shown that with the better overall flexibility of the integrated systems, more wind and solar generation can be integrated into the generated output. As hydro is discussed to improve flexibility, the analysis shows that climate change effects on the must-run requirements can impact the efficiency of the delivered flexibility. Investigating various variables in the transition pathways and their impact on the power system during this thesis shows that there are requirements that should be met in the system in order to maintain the reliability and efficiency of the projected paths. Three different flexibility options is analyzed that fulfill these requirements which showed different impacts on expansion planning and operation of the system in terms of costs and their effectiveness to integrate VRE integration. While supply-side options like storage and transmission expansion options impose additional investment costs, power systems can benefit from lower costs of demand-side options as well as reducing supply-side requirements. Integration as the third option has also proved to have a substantial impact on the enacted costs of transition pathways as well as delivering flexibility. These options ranked in terms of implicated costs and their effectiveness as a high-level conclusion as: power systems integration, supply-side options, and demand side options.



Power systems, flexibility, variable renwable energy, energy systems, decarbonizaiton