Grid Integration of Variable Renewables (GIVAR)

The Power of Transformation Cover with Text.jpgThe IEA Grid Integration of Variable Renewables (GIVAR) programme aims to build understanding of the characteristics of energy systems and markets that hinder or enable the reliable, economic integration of large shares of variable renewables (VRE), and to use this knowledge to inform and further enhance IEA analysis.

At the 2005 Gleneagles G8 Summit, the IEA was tasked with assessing the challenges of efficient integration of VRE in power systems. This has marked the starting point for IEA analysis on the topic. Over the past decade, GIVAR established itself as an authoritative source of policy advice on VRE grid integration.

A Phase 1 report was subsequently prepared for the 2008 Toyako G8 Summit, entitled Empowering Variable Renewables, Options for Flexible Electricity Systems, which identified strategic elements to facilitate deployment of VRE. The GIVAR project was given additional impetus by the call from the 2009 IEA Ministerial, where delegates called on the IEA to carry out “a study of electricity security including the impact of electricity from variable sources”.

Phase 2 of the project culminated in May 2011 in the launch of a new IEA book Harnessing Variable Renewables: a Guide to the Balancing Challenge, which presents a new method developed by the IEA to shed light on managing power systems with large shares of variable renewables. Written for decision-makers, it explores the twin challenges of variability and uncertainty from a technical perspective.

Phase 3 was concluded by the release of a landmark study The Power of Transformation – Wind, Sun and The Economics of Flexible Power Systems in early 2014. Building on the previous project phases, it includes a detailed economic assessment of the flexible resources (flexible generation, grid infrastructure, electricity storage, demand side integration) that can facilitate VRE system and market integration. The study confirms that integrating high shares – i.e., 30 percent of annual electricity production or more – of wind and solar PV in power systems can come at little additional cost in the long term. However, costs depend on how flexible the system currently is and what strategy is adopted to develop system flexibility over the long term. 

The Power of Transformation - Wind, Sun and the Economics of Flexible Power Systems is on sale at the IEA bookshop.

To read Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven's remarks at the launch, please click ‌‌‌here.

To see the presentation that accompanied the report's launch, please click here.

To hear the launch webinar, including the presentation, please click here.

To read the executive summary, please click here.

To see a fact sheet for The Power of Transformation, please click ‌here.