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This study analyzes the ability of the Eastern Interconnection of the United States, one of the largest power systems in the world, to accommodate high penetrations of wind and solar power. Using advanced modeling and computing techniques, the project team simulated the large-scale adoption of wind and solar energy at a temporal resolution up to 5 minutes. The study represents the cutting-edge of power system modeling, employing a high spatial resolution to include all synchronous components of the Eastern Interconnection. Results suggest that the Eastern Interconnection can reliably integrate upwards of 30% variable renewable energy in the power mix. However, meeting the 30% target will require increased balancing area coordination, incentives for transmission and generation to provide necessary ancillary services, and increased flexibility of traditional generators. In addition to the technical report, the full dataset as well as animations showing net interchange for two study scenarios are available for free download.
Located in Integration Topics / Grid Integration Studies / Grid Integration Studies folder
The Western Wind and Solar Integration Study examines the benefits and challenges of integrating significant wind and solar energy to the Western Interconnection, which covers the power system operated by the WestConnect group of utilities in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming. The study consists of three phases. Phase 1 investigates the operational impacts of increasing the penetration of wind, solar photovoltaics (PV), and concentrating solar power to up to 35% in 2017. Phase 2 analyzes the wear-and-tear costs and emissions impacts associated with increased cycling by conventional generation due to wind and solar integration. Phase 3 evaluates the transient stability and frequency response of the Western Interconnection under high penetration solar and wind scenarios and identifies ways to mitigate adverse impacts through transmission reinforcements, storage, advanced control capabilities, and other mechanisms.
Located in Integration Topics / Grid Integration Studies / Grid Integration Studies folder
The Eastern Wind Integration Transmission Study examines the operational impact of up to 20-30% wind energy penetration in the Eastern Interconnection, one of the three synchronous grids in the contiguous United States. The study addresses a variety of issues related to wind energy and transmission development, including the costs, impacts, and enabling mechanisms (e.g., geographic diversity, forecasting, operating reserves) associated with significant wind penetration. A follow-on study, the Eastern Renewable Generation Integration Study, is anticipated to be released in winter, 2015.
Located in Integration Topics / Grid Integration Studies / Grid Integration Studies folder
Developed in response to the ambitious RE targets established by the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, the Hawaii Solar Integration Study evaluates the operational impacts of high penetrations of solar PV (including both centralized and distributed PV) on the electricity grids of two Hawaiian islands: Maui and Oahu. The two islands provide examples of small power grids with differing levels of firm and RE capacity. The study examines variability, the ability to curtail power output, grid support, and load characteristics in the context of increasing variable RE on these systems. The technical reports underlying the summary are available here.
Located in Integration Topics / Grid Integration Studies / Grid Integration Studies folder
This study explores technologies that can provide control of active power output from wind power. The study assesses how active power control technologies impact production costs, wind power revenue streams, and the overall reliability and security of the power system. The authors find that wind turbines have great potential to provide automatic power controls. However, careful market and control system design will be needed to realize these benefits.
Located in Integration Topics / System Operations Improvements / System Operations Improvements folder
This report summarizes effective actions that countries have taken to integrate significant variable RE. It includes detailed case studies such as how Australia and Spain each developed and integrated advanced forecasting techniques (pg. 49 and 105), and how Spain allowed for larger balancing areas (pg. 104). The report explores additional topics and case studies, including Ireland, Denmark, Germany, and the United States.
Located in Integration Topics / System Operations Improvements / System Operations Improvements folder
Achieving clean energy goals may require new investments in transmission, especially if planners anticipate economic growth and increased demand for electricity. The renewable energy zone (REZ) transmission planning process can help policymakers ensure their infrastructure investments achieve national goals in the most economical manner. Policymakers, planners, and system operators around the world have used variations of the REZ process to chart the expansion of their transmission networks and overcome the barriers of traditional transmission planning. This guidebook seeks to help power system planners, key decision makers, and stakeholders understand and use the REZ process to integrate transmission expansion planning and renewable energy generation planning. The guidebook presents a general organizational structure and details each step of the REZ process.
Located in Integration Topics / Planning for Grid Integration / Planning for Grid Integration folder
Capacity expansion modeling is a fundamental tool for planning the future power system. Capacity expansion models can provide insights on possible pathways for the power system under different assumptions about technology innovation, transmission expansion, demand changes, and policies. This report summarizes the experience of capacity expansion modeling at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The authors address in detail NREL’s approach to key questions that arise when modeling future capacity expansion, with a particular emphasis on modeling significant levels of variable RE deployment.
Located in Integration Topics / Planning for Grid Integration / Planning for Grid Integration folder
This report, written as a summary for power system regulators and operators of Mexico, examines key practices of different U.S. jurisdictions for evaluating and approving generation and transmission expansion projects. The report includes a discussion about cost-benefit analysis to inform decision–making and a discussion about reliability standards and how to model reliability in the bulk electric power system in the context of increased adoption of variable renewable resources. Section 3.3 reviews approaches to modeling dispatch, capacity expansion, and power flow, with an emphasis on accurate representation of variable renewable resources, and Table 3 provides samples of power system models in use in North America.
Located in Integration Topics / Planning for Grid Integration / Planning for Grid Integration folder
This article provides an overview of the traditional power system planning process in the United States, summarizes how legal authority for transmission planning is allocated between states and the U.S. government, and evaluates the challenges and solutions that state regulators have encountered with planning new transmission for renewable energy development. In addition to a discussion about the important merits of increased balancing area cooperation for system operations and transmission planning, the article includes a detailed review of the Renewable Energy Zones transmission planning process as implemented in Texas’ Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) approach.
Located in Integration Topics / Planning for Grid Integration / Planning for Grid Integration folder
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