Large grids can integrate more wind—without major burdens.
Richard Lauckhart is one of the principals of Black & Veatch Management Consulting’s energy market perspective forecasting service. Email him at LauckhartR@bv.com.
The desire of policymakers to add significant amounts of renewable energy to the generation mix is well understood. It’s also widely known that because the output of renewables such as wind power can be highly variable, power system operators have concerns about the ability to economically and reliably integrate these resources with system operations. Fortunately, a large body of knowledge has been developed in the last few years about integrating wind.
Despite their variable nature, renewable resources like wind and solar can be managed so they won’t impair the reliability of a utility system.
Given the diversity of resources and likelihood of improved forecasting of the output of these resources, it might be possible to reduce the need for quick-start and spinning operating reserves because the availability of the variable resources may actually offset unplanned variations in retail power demand. For this reason, it’s important that wind developers focus on working with existing balancing authorities rather than developing wind-only balancing authorities, which tend to have challenging economics.