It is vitally important for Germany’s energy turnaround that wind turbines are operated as cost-effectively as possible and that wind power is traded in the most economically advantageous way. In recent years this has not always been in the case: firstly, many turbines are being operated beyond their nominal service lifetimes on a “wear-and-tear basis”; secondly, wind power is increasingly traded directly on the electricity exchange, rather than producers receiving fixed feed-in tariffs.
This is where the Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Economics and Energy System Technology (IEE) in Kassel has stepped in with the KORVA project. Together with industry partners Nordex (as the manufacturer), ABO Wind (plant operator), Steag and Statkraft (direct marketers) and TÜV Süd (certification body), it aims to develop new concepts and processes to make wind plants more profitable – taking into account compound factors like wear and tear, variable running times, wind conditions and fluctuating market prices.
In the future, plant operators stand to gain directly from the fluctuating prices of green energy. What is needed therefore is a control system which links the technical and economic aspects so that an optimal relationship can be established between the yields on the exchange and the cost of production.
“We want to give them a data-driven tool with which they can economically optimise the time of feed-in and the type of plant operation,” says Dr Martin Shan, who heads-up the team at Fraunhofer IEE in a . A communication interface will link all the stakeholders together to make this possible.
The next step is then to set up a field test at an ABO plant, that will be operated alongside a simulated wind farm in the laboratory. The project was funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in 2019 to run until the end of 2021.