Intermittent and stochastic character of renewable energy sources: Consequences, cost of intermittence and benefit of forecasting

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Notton G., Nivet M., Voyant C., Paoli C., Darras C., Motte F., ...More

RENEWABLE & SUSTAINABLE ENERGY REVIEWS, vol.87, pp.96-105, 2018 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


Solar and wind energy are inherently time-varying sources of energy on scales from minutes to seasons. Thus, the incorporation of such intermittent and stochastic renewable energy systems (ISRES) into an electricity grid provides some new challenges in managing a stable and safe energy supply, in using energy storage and/or 'backup' energy from other sources. In such cases, the ability to accurately forecast the output of "unpredictable" energy facilities is essential for ensuring an optimal management of the energy production means. This review syntheses the reasons to predict solar or wind fluctuations, it shows that variability and stochastic variation of renewable sources have a cost, sometimes high. It provides useful information on the intermittence cost and on the decreasing of this cost due to an efficient forecasting of the source fluctuation; this paper is for engineers and researchers who are not necessarily familiar with the issue of the notions of cost and economy and justify future investments in the ISRES production forecasting.