Direkt zum Inhalt

Start-up Costs of Thermal Power Plants in Markets with Increasing Shares of Variable Renewable Generation

Referierte Aufsätze Web of Science

Wolf-Peter Schill, Michael Pahle, Christian Gambardella

In: Nature Energy 2 (2017), 17050, 6 S.


The emerging literature on power markets with high shares of variable renewable energy sources suggests that the costs of more frequent start-ups of thermal power plants may become an increasing concern. Here we investigate how this develops in Germany, where the share of variable renewables is expected to grow from 14% in 2013 to 34% in 2030. We show that the overall number of start-ups grows by 81%, while respective costs increase by 119% in this period. Related to variable renewables’ production, start-up costs increase by a mere €0.70 per additional megawatt hour. While the expansion of variable renewables alone would increase start-up costs, more flexible biomass power plants and additional power storage have counteracting effects. Yet changes in reserve provision and fuel prices increase start-up costs again. The relevance of start-up costs may grow further under continued renewable expansion, but could be mitigated by increasing system flexibility.

Wolf-Peter Schill

Head of the research area „Transformation of the Energy Economy“ in the Energy, Transportation, Environment Department