Optimization of hybrid power plants: Award from the City of Vienna for the Master's Thesis of the Renewable Energies Program

Nikolas Fußenegger dealt with the optimization of hybrid power plants in his final thesis in the Master's program Renewable Energies and received the Scientific Award of the City of Vienna in the field of environmental protection.

The Vienna Department of Environmental Protection (MA 22) awards an annual prize for scientific work in the field of environmental protection. The prize is awarded in particular for diploma theses or dissertations. This year's prize winners include Nikolas Fußenegger, a graduate of the Master's program in Renewable Energies at UAS Technikum Wien.

In his award-winning master's thesis, Fußenegger dealt with the technical and economic optimization of hybrid power plants as well as the legal and organizational framework conditions. "In order to achieve the climate targets by 2030 in Austria, an expansion of 27 TWh of renewable electricity production is required," Fußenegger explains the background. "The challenges to this are primarily the insufficient grid capacities for this and the high grid connection costs." One possible solution could be hybrid power plants consisting of different energy sources. "For example, you can expand an existing wind farm with a photovoltaic farm. This combination is favorable in that the two systems complement each other well in terms of energy generation," says Fußenegger. In this way, the existing grid infrastructure could be used more effectively and economic and business benefits could be achieved.

For his work, the UAS graduate analyzed not only the legal and organizational framework conditions, but also how such hybrid systems could be combined at an existing grid connection point to maximize profits. For this purpose, he examined three different model examples. "It has been shown that the combination of the two primary energy sources, wind energy and photovoltaics, brings great economic advantages. In the case study investigated, the optimal PV system output in the hybrid power plant is even greater than that of the original stand-alone wind plant," says Fußenegger. This is still more economical than connecting PV plants to the grid on their own, taking derating into account, he says. As part of his research, he also found that integrating electro-chemical storage in the hybrid power plant example he studied does not currently make sense.

One problem in practice, he said, was that the wide scope for interpretation of the legal requirements sometimes deterred potential operating companies. However, the fact that hybrid power plants would offer economic advantages, since less grid capacity would have to be added, is one of the conclusions of the master's thesis. For plant operators, the use of existing grid connections would also have clear cost advantages. "In any case, hybrid power plants could be used to quickly develop new capacities and bring them into the grid," Fußenegger is convinced. "In this way, they could make an important contribution to achieving the climate targets in Austria."