Green energy mandates might overburden gas pipelines.
Diane A. Rigos, PhD, is a senior consultant with management consulting firm Levitan & Associates Inc., based in Boston. Boris L. Shapiro, PhD, is executive consultant, and Richard L. Levitan is president of Levitan & Associates.
Electricity supply and demand have always been variable and uncertain. Hence, in realizing the enormous potential associated with onshore and offshore wind development, system operators must address the critical challenge of predicting wind production and then managing the variability of wind based energy from day to day, hour to hour, and, at a more granular level, in 10-minute intervals.
In terms of seconds or minutes, variations in wind power output have a relatively minor impact on system operations. However, in terms of 10-minute intervals or hour-long time scales, unexpected wind power output variations have the potential to cause operational havoc, particularly if the magnitude of the variance is comparable to the variation in load. Maintaining system reliability and security of supply thus requires the independent system operator (ISO) to avoid operational havoc by rigorous scheduling of various ancillary services. As the penetration of new wind resources increases, the array and amount of ancillary services will necessitate innovation to accommodate intermittent resources. Toward this end, in its notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) issued on November 18 (Docket No. RM10-11-000), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) proposes reforms intended to remove barriers to the integration of variable energy resources (VERs) into the transmission grid.