The impact of monsoon intraseasonal variability on renewable power generation in India
Dunning, C. M., Turner, A. G. and Brayshaw, D. J. (2015) The impact of monsoon intraseasonal variability on renewable power generation in India. Environmental Research Letters, 10 (6). 064002. ISSN 1748-9326
To link to this article DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/10/6/064002
India is increasingly investing in renewable technology to meet rising energy demands, with hydropower and other renewables comprising one-third of current installed capacity. Installed wind-power is projected to increase 5-fold by 2035 (to nearly 100GW) under the International Energy Agency’s New Policies scenario. However, renewable electricity generation is dependent upon the prevailing meteorology, which is strongly inﬂuenced by monsoon variability. Prosperity and widespread electriﬁcation are increasing the demand for air conditioning, especially during the warm summer. This study uses multi-decadal observations and meteorological reanalysis data to assess the impact of intraseasonal monsoon variability on the balance of electricity supply from wind-power and temperature-related demand in India. Active monsoon phases are characterised by vigorous convection and heavy rainfall over central India. This results in lower temperatures giving lower cooling energy demand, while strong westerly winds yield high wind-power output. In contrast, monsoon breaks are characterised by suppressed precipitation, with higher temperatures and hence greater demand for cooling, and lower wind-power output across much of India. The opposing relationship between wind-power supply and cooling demand during active phases (low demand, high supply) and breaks (high demand, low supply) suggests that monsoon variability will tend to exacerbate ﬂuctuations in the so-called demand-net-wind (i.e., electrical demand that must be supplied from non-wind sources). This study may have important implications for the design of power systems and for investment decisions in conventional schedulable generation facilities (such as coal and gas) that are used to maintain the supply/demand balance. In particular, if it is assumed (as is common) that the generated wind-power operates as a price-taker (i.e., wind farm operators always wish to sell their power, irrespective of price) then investors in conventional facilities will face additional weather-volatility through the monsoonal impact on the length and frequency of production periods (i.e. their load-duration curves).