Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative

Green Gridworks

Case studies on integrating renewable resources.

Where wind integration has been most successful, state authorities developed and adopted basic transmission planning and cost allocation principles before FERC issued Order 1000. Experiences in Texas, California, and Hawaii demonstrate what it takes to overcome permitting and cost allocation barriers—namely, a coherent policy framework and close coordination among stakeholders.

Renewable Reality Check

How solar PV could redraw the map for green energy and grid investment.

When Pacific Gas & Electric broke the news six weeks ago that it had signed a deal with Solaren Corp. to buy 200 MW of solar energy from satellites launched into geosynchronous orbit, the idea seemed almost laughable. Solaren’s plan is to catch unobstructed sunlight falling on arrays of photovoltaic solar panels deployed in the crystalline void of outer space, and then to convert the generated electricity into radio-frequency energy for transmission to Solaren’s ground-based receiving station outside Fresno. Welcome to the new renewable reality.

Dynamic Pricing Solutions

How to account for lack of strong price signals. A hard year puts deregulation to the test.

The greatest benefits of time-of-use pricing come from avoided costs of peaking power and T&D capacity—but only if hourly retail prices accurately model the true costs of delivered energy, including scarcity rents. Restoring the missing price signals will encourage economic investments in AMI, conservation and system capacity.

PV vs. Solar Thermal

Distributed solar modules are gaining ground on concentrated solar thermal plants.

Photovoltaic technologies are beginning to appear more attractive than concentrated solar thermal plants. PV’s competitiveness is improving from technical and operational advancements, as well as significant commitments made by such utilities as Southern California Edison. In the long run, distributed central PV plants likely will gain a strong market position.

The Queue Quandary

Why developers today are often kept waiting to get projects ok’d to connect to the grid.

Late last year FERC learned that the Midwest regional grid likely would require at least 40 years — until 2050 — simply to clear its backlog of proposed gen projects awaiting a completed interconnection agreement to certify their compatibility with the interstate power grid. But grid engineers would meet that date only by shortening the process and studying multiple projects simultaneously in clusters. To apply the process literally, studying one project at a time, as envisioned by current rules, the Midwest reportedly would need 300-plus years to clear its project queue.