Effect of Wind Intermittency on the Electric Grid: Mitigating the Risk of Energy Deficits

02/10/2010
by   Sam O. George, et al.
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Successful implementation of California's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) mandating 33 percent renewable energy generation by 2020 requires inclusion of a robust strategy to mitigate increased risk of energy deficits (blackouts) due to short time-scale (sub 1 hour) intermittencies in renewable energy sources. Of these RPS sources, wind energy has the fastest growth rate--over 25 year-over-year. If these growth trends continue, wind energy could make up 15 percent of California's energy portfolio by 2016 (wRPS15). However, the hour-to-hour variations in wind energy (speed) will create large hourly energy deficits that require installation of other, more predictable, compensation generation capacity and infrastructure. Compensating for the energy deficits of wRPS15 could potentially cost tens of billions in additional dollar-expenditure for fossil and / or nuclear generation capacity. There is a real possibility that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions will miss the California Assembly Bill 32 (CA AB 32) target by a wide margin once the wRPS15 compensation system is in place. This work presents a set of analytics tools that show the impact of short-term intermittencies to help policy makers understand and plan for wRPS15 integration. What are the right policy choices for RPS that include wind energy?

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