Techno-economic assessment of high variable renewable energy penetration in the Bolivian interconnected electric system

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Ray Antonio Rojas Candia
Sergio Luis Balderrama Subieta
Joseph Adhemar Araoz Ramos
Vicente Senosiain Miquélez
Jenny Gabriela Peña Balderrama
Hernan Jaldín Florero
Sylvain Quoilin


Bolivia plans significant investments in conventional and renewable energy projects before 2025. Deployment of large hydro-power, wind and solar projects are foreseen in the investment agenda. However and despite the large renewable potential in the country non-conventional renewable technologies are not yet considered to be a main source in the supply chain. The aim of this article is to evaluate the flexibility of the Bolivian power generation system in terms of energy balancing, electricity generation costs and power plants scheduling in a scenario that considers large solar and wind energy technology deployment. This is done using an open source unit commitment and optimal dispatch model (Dispa-SET) developed by the Joint Research Center of the European Commission. National data for existing infrastructure, committed and planned energy projects are used to assess the case of Bolivia.  The base scenario consider all techno-economic data of the Bolivian power system up to 2016. A harmonized dataset is gathered and released as open data to allow other researchers to run and re-use the model. This model is then used to simulate scenarios with different levels of solar and wind energy deployment. Results from the analysis show that an energy mix with participation of solar and wind technology with values lower than 30% is technically feasible and indicates that further grid reinforcements are required.

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