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The balance of power

Hydropower could be the answer in balancing power supply

Hydropower could be the answer in balancing power supply
Hydropower could be the answer in balancing power supply

Using hydropower to balance electricity supply could provide a timely boost to an industry that is struggling against environmental concerns and huge subsidies for competing renewable technologies. The more wind power that the countries develop, the more unpredictable supplies will become from hour to hour, and alternative electricity sources that are easily adaptable, environmentally-friendly, and reasonably priced will become more and more important.

An example of the validity of this strategy came from the German government’s environmental advisory board, which submitted a report to the German Parliament in Berlin last year. The report argued that it is both realistic and desirable for Germany to obtain all its electrical power from renewable sources by 2050 providing that it can balance its power supply. And the answer to that is hydropower.

The report states that future electricity supplies will probably be less expensive if they are based entirely on renewable energy rather than on a system involving the partial exploitation of low-carbon fuels. It will also be financially beneficial to phase-out existing coal-fired and nuclear power stations in line with their projected lifetimes, and replace them with renewable energy sources.

The meaning of the term “balancing power” is far from clear. In purely commercial terms, it relates to both day ahead trading (spot) and trade within the hour of operation (regulation power). In more general terms, balancing power represents not least the need to equalise the ever-increasing energy supply fluctuations that will arise as a consequence of the increased proportion of variable renewable sources, such as wind power, that will be coming on stream.