Integrating Renewable Energy into the Electricity Grid: Case Studies Showing How Technologies and Operations are Maintaining Reliability

Posted by Reports on Jun 2, 2015 2:10:00 PM

Publish Date: June 2, 2015

Earlier this year, the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) issued an “initial reliability review” in which it identified elements of EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan that could lead to reliability concerns. One of the issues identified by NERC was the challenge of integrating variable renewable resources, such as wind and solar, into the power system at the levels contemplated by the CPP.

The Advanced Energy Economy Institute commissioned The Brattle Group, a leading consulting firm to utilities and grid operators, to provide an overview of how utilities and grid operators were integrating variable renewable resources while maintaining reliable electric service.

In this report, The Brattle Group provides two case studies representing the two types of electricity market structures in the United States - the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), a regional transmission organization (RTO), and Xcel Energy Colorado, a vertically integrated utility - each of which is successfully managing a high and increasing share of electric power from variable renewable resources.

The Brattle Group found that “ongoing technological progress and ongoing learning about how to manage the operations of the electric system will likely allow the integration not only of the levels of variable renewable capacity now in places like Texas and Colorado but even significantly larger amounts in the future.”

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Topics: Federal Policy, 21st Century Electricity System