Hello Openmod Community,
As my background is in international development and energy project finance, my experience in energy systems modeling is zero (my excel skills are high, though) but I am looking to seek your recommendations on the right tools for what I am trying to accomplish. As an American, given the current skeptical political environment surrounding renewables, I would like to explore arguments for solar generation and, specifically, the ideal target for solar (or other intermittent power) penetration in a developing country based on current costs and fixed PPA generation charges. The argument being that solar can be economically helpful as a fuel saving technology paired with natural gas or other fossil fuel generation sources, and support the economic development of developing countries.
Specifically, I would like to calculate the optimized solar (or other) generation capacity in a limited grid (I typically work on projects in developing countries) at various price points vs. the fixed capacity charge and variable fuel cost for dispatchable power.
For instance, in a hypothetical island nation with 100% generation from oil with a variable fuel charge of 13 cents/kWh, solar generation offered at 14 cents/kWh would result in a 0% economically optimized solar generation mix, assuming no peak pricing issues. Should solar generation be priced at 7 cents/kWh, obviously the cost savings of solar would merit reducing oil generation, but given the intermittent nature of solar generation this would not result in the economic viability of 100% solar generation given the need for dispatchable power plus a reserve margin. It seems to me that, assuming a lack of storage and a need for dispatchable power, there is a theoretical economic limit to the amount of solar capacity that should be introduced, with this limit increasing as the cost of solar falls.
I would like to create a model that would find the economically optimized solar capacity limit in this system, that would account for the fixed capacity cost of a dispatchable power plant, the variable fossil fuel costs, and fixed solar generation costs (assuming power is delivered via a long-term fixed price PPA). I had been exploring building a 15-minute interval data annual model, witch logic to account for intermittent generation to get an 8760 annual profile, but wanted to seek other opinions before starting the effort.
Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated, and could help serve to motivate additional renewable energy investment in a climate where fossil fuel generation sources are preferred.
Is Excel the best tool for the job, or is there a better solution?