The cost of wind and solar energy technologies have decreased significantly over the last decade, which has led to increasing levels integrated into the grid. These technologies also offer unique benefits such as no fuel costs, quick installation, and no pollution. But as more of this so-called variable renewable energy (VRE) such as wind and solar is integrated into electrical power systems, a range of new technical challenges is becoming more prevalent in planning and operating the grid. Challenges include dealing with variable and uncertain power production as well as the unique physical characteristics that wind and solar generators have.
A special section called “Integrating Ultra-High Levels of Variable Renewable Energy” published in the Journal of Modern Power Systems and Clean Energy looks at some of the new techniques to solve these challenges. In the paper entitled “Integrating high levels of variable renewable energy into electric power systems”, these challenges and their solutions are reviewed. A summary of power system operations is given to better understand different aspects and how they can be affected by increasing levels of wind and solar energy. Then specific technical challenges and mitigation measures are described. Finally, several examples of operating power systems with a wide range of VRE are discussed.
Ben Kroposki, Ph.D., PE, FIEEE
Director–Power Systems Engineering Center
National Renewable Energy Laboratory, USA
Learn more about NREL’s Grid Research here.