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The Power to Reduce CO2 Emissions: The Full Portfolio

What the U.S. electricity sector must do to significantly reduce CO2 emissions in coming decades.

Fortnightly Magazine - October 2007

through AMI. Third, they are designed to be integrated with a smart electricity infrastructure at multiple levels—the distribution level, the energy management systems (EMS) level, and grid operations and planning. Consequently, while established research and commercial activities continue to develop core technologies for efficiency, PHEVs, and DER, parallel RD&D efforts are required to transform the distribution system into a smart enabling infrastructure.

Key research milestones and deployment targets include:

• By 2010, develop and deploy communication standards for AMI to ensure grid interoperability.

• By 2015, integrate AMI with smart resources, and complete pilot projects of distribution system optimization.

• By 2020, develop models for integrating smart resources with EMS, maximizing the energy efficiency benefit at the system level. Ensure smart resources can be aggregated into virtual loads and sources.

• By 2025, fully integrate EMS with distribution management systems (DMS) and smart resources. Ensure the seamless integration of smart distributed resources with distribution system operations and with the market for energy services.

Challenge 2: Transmission-enabled Technologies

Because the principal non-hydro renewable resources ( i.e., wind, solar) are intermittent, integrating large quantities into the generation mix will require significant transmission system enhancements. Specific challenges include insufficient transmission for wind farms in remote locations, voltage and power supply problems because of fluctuating energy output, high ramping burdens requiring added reserves, and limited reactive power control. This section describes the RD&D steps needed to equip the transmission system with the resiliency and flexibility necessary to operate under conditions where potentially 20 to 30 percent of electricity generation is produced by intermittent renewables.

Technology development pathways are described below for the transmission-enabled technologies that will enable greater penetration of renewable energy into the U.S. grid.

Utility-Scale Energy Storage

Because they are inherently less controllable, renewable-energy resources challenge grid operations. Wind power provides the most striking example, with potential remedies including better wind turbines, improved fault tolerances, more accurate wind forecasting, power electronics for stabilization and compensation, and electric energy storage. Of these, only electric energy storage offers a comprehensive solution to the grid challenges of intermittent generation. Decoupling intermittent generation from demand by allowing large-scale energy storage and discharge increases resource dispatchability and allows intermittent renewable resources to operate during periods of maximum efficiency.

Key research milestones and deployment targets include:

• By 2017, demonstrate an energy storage plant to support widespread integration of wind turbines.

• By the mid-2020s, develop energy storage technology based on nano-supercapacitors.

Grid Visualization Tools

Under-investment in transmission infrastructure relative to growth in electricity demand presents critical near-term concerns. Analytical and visualization tools can enable more accurate forecasting of renewable energy output and its impact on grid operations, providing operators with greater confidence in scheduling adequate capacity to meet energy requirements.

Key research milestones and deployment targets include:

• By 2015, apply new analysis tools to optimize regulation, reserves, and load-following requirements in regions with high penetration of intermittent resources.

• By 2020, develop visualization tools that more accurately reflect load and demand response capabilities, enabling higher wind penetration.

Transmission Infrastructure

Renewable energy sites that are optimal in terms