KU Leuven

Promotor / Supervisor

Prof. dr. ir. Ronnie Belmans

Samenvatting van het onderzoek / Summary of Research

Efficient use of wind energy by intelligent electricity consumption

Cedric De Jonghe examines in his doctorate how electricity producerscan deal with wind energy in an efficient way. Therefore he uses mathematical calculation methods taking into account demand response of electricity consumers. These calculations show that adjusting electricity consumption to generation can lead to an efficient integration of wind energy.

"At any time of the day, there should be a perfect balance between electricity generation and consumption," says the new Doctor of Engineering. "This alignment becomes more difficult with a higher proportion of wind energy, which is typically highly variable and difficult to predict." Therefore, De Jonghe has developed in his doctorate new calculation methods which take into account the characteristics of wind power and at the same time allow intelligent electricity consumption.

This intelligence is made possible by dynamic electricity tariffs, for example according to the variable output of wind energy. The increasing share of wind energy can at some moments lead to overgeneration. This overgeneration can result in cheaper electricity prices. On windless moments however, a shortage in the generation of electricity may result in more expensive electricity prices. As the storage of electricity is very expensive, it does not provide a solution to those electricity generation fluctuations.

Fluctuating electricity prices will encourage consumers to postpone electricity consumption at high price moments to a later stage with low prices. As a result, there is less consumption during times with an electricity shortage and increased consumption when there is a surplus of electricity. "This intelligent matching of consumption and variable generation is called demand response and makes us use wind energy more efficiently." Such changes in electricity consumption are possible both in industry and for individuals, for instance to efficiently charge their electric vehicle or when they are equipped with home automation applications.

By aligning electricity consumption and generation in calculation methods, the fluctuations in wind energy generation is better absorbed. "This makes the production of wind energy morevaluable and so the electricity sector will invest more in renewable energy," explains De Jonghe. "Hopefully my research contributes to the climate challenges we face in the coming years."

Cedric De Jonghe uses his background as a commercial engineer in techno-economic research at the K.U.Leuven Energy Institute. He is a doctoral researcher since 2007 under the guidance of Professor Ronnie Belmans and in 2010 he worked for three months at the University of Cambridge.

Examencommissie / Board of examiners

  •   Prof. dr. ir. Ronnie Belmans (promotor)
  •   Prof. dr. ir. Yves Willems (voorzitter/chairman)
  •   Prof. dr. ir. William D'haeseleer (secretaris/secretary)
  •   De heer Leonardo Meeus
  •   Prof. dr. Wil Kling , Eindhoven University of Technology
  •   Prof. dr. Benjamin F. Hobbs , Johns Hopkins University, Ames Hall 313