Development of a GIS-based multiprocessing modelling approach for assessing the wind and solar potential in Mongolia
Abstract: Despite the vast wind and solar energy potential, Mongolia is still highly depended on coal-fired electricity generation. At the same time, the pressure on Governments is increased due to the urgency to fight climate change. It is therefore essential to identify the techno-economic wind and solar energy potential of Mongolia, to improve data on its renewable resources. A GIS-based multiprocessing modelling approach for renewable energy site suitability is developed, to incorporate physical-geographical constraints such as slope and socio-geographical constraints such as buffer distances to settlements into the potential calculation. Subsequently, an energy system model named Enertile, developed by Fraunhofer ISI, is used to calculate the techno-economic potential, based on the LCOE method. Final economic interpretations are made in Excel and Python, using the NPV approach. The results support statements by earlier studies, that Mongolia has vast domestic wind and solar resources. The total technical wind and solar potential is estimated at 7.25 TW capacity and 12.17 PWh/year of electricity. The study also reveals, that electricity from ground-mounted PV is the cheapest renewable source and can generate electricity at a very competitive LCOE starting at 48.6 $/MWh. However, due to a very low regulated electricity rate, all renewable technologies still require a Feed-in Tariff. The detailed results showed an economic wind potential capacity of 1.15 GW (3.05 TWh/year). Least cost locations for wind farms are found in the south of the country and could generate electricity at a LCOE of 70 $/MWh (185.5 MNT/kWh). The total economic potential of for ground-mounted PV was 5.12 TW (9.57 PWh/year). Highest solar irradiation locations can generate electricity starting at a LCOE of 48.6 $/MWh (127.9 MNT/kWh). The analysis of rooftop PV showed a 1.11 TW (1.92 TWh/year) economic potential. Rooftop solar PV systems installed at locations with the best solar irradiation, generate electricity at a LCOE starting at 69.8 $/MWh (183.7 MNT/kWh). The ground-mounted and rooftop PV results indicate, that the current FiT support scheme is oversized. Hence, a revision of the Feed-in Tariff support scheme for solar photovoltaic systems is proposed and an adjusted FiT rate is calculated. In case of ground-mounted PV, a FiT adjustment between 58.4 $/MWh and 85 $/MWh should be made in order for Mongolia to reach its 2030 renewable targets. In case of a full decarbonization of the electricity system, a FiT adjustment between 58.9 $/MWh and 85.7 $/MWh is recommended. In order to promote the installation of rooftop PV systems in the capital Ulaanbaatar, a FiT in the range of 108.1 to 147.8 $/MWh is required. In conclusion, this study recommends further promoting the renewable energy technologies, especially utility scale PV, which are available at a comparatively low LCOE, enhance environmental sustainability and increase energy security for Mongolia.
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