The Center for Complex Engineering Systems (CCES) in collaboration with the Water and Energy Research Institute (WERI), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Saudi Electricity Company has developed a high-fidelity long-term strategic planning tool for renewable technologies in the Saudi power system called SUPER. The name stands for Sizing, Ultimate Placement, Expansion, and Reinforcement of Generation and Transmission Infrastructures (SUPER).
KACST’s SUPER has been designed to find the optimal sizing, portfolio selection, timing, and placement of renewables to ensure maximum economic benefit, reliability, and minimum capital and operational costs. This decision support system (DSS) relies on a rich Saudi-specific database to capture existing generation and transmission infrastructures, technical specifications, capital and operational costs, and measured renewable potential. Additionally, KACST’s SUPER can be expanded to examine the economic viability of large-scale storage to enhance the penetration and reliability of renewable power generation.
The DSS will aid stakeholders in achieving an integrated long-term planning in a unifying framework. The planning challenges primarily stem from renewables temporal intermittency, spatial diversity of renewables potential, seasonally-varying synchronicity between peak demand and peak renewables generation, capacity credit of renewables, transfer limits between load centers, technical limits of dispatchable generation, and regional fuel availability.
Due to Saudi’s strategic location, significant renewable potential, and rapidly growing demand for electricity in the region, Saudi Arabia can export electricity to neighboring countries. The export of electric power depends on the establishment of a competitive local market for electricity, which is an attempt to solve and mitigate distortions in the local market resulting from government energy subsidies. To assess the possibility of the Kingdom exporting electricity, CCES have studied the possibility of exchanging energy between the GCC countries by reviewing the transmission lines between the Kingdom and its neighbors, and identifying the basic organizational steps necessary to establish a regional electricity market through mathematical modeling.