Wind Energy General
- Study -WIRES Transmission Benefits Study.
- Report - Bipartisan Policy Center Report (Boucher-Hebert) on Policies for a Modern and Reliable Electric Grid.
- Report - The Southwest outage report (discusses the need for transmission, improved coordination, etc.).
- Study - WIRES study on employment and economic benefits of transmission investment.
- Infographic - Southwest Power Pool on the benefits of transmission.
Transmission and Wind Energy
- Report - AWEA Green Power Superhighways report.
- Report - Update to the Superhighways report that AWEA’s Michael Goggin wrote in fall 2013.
- Comments - AWEA comments to WAPA on its Defining the Future Initiative.
- Blog - How transmission is benefiting Texas.
- Presentation - In addition to alleviating curtailment of existing wind projects, as discussed in the article above, Texas’s CREZ lines are also opening up extremely high quality wind resource areas for development. Slides 16-17 of this presentation show the wind projects that are in development to use that transmission. Of most importance are the 6,947 MW of wind capacity that have signed interconnection agreements on slide 17, as those projects are much farther along in the development process and way more firm than the interconnection application projects shown on slide 16. Slide 5 also shows that curtailment of existing wind projects has been greatly reduced thanks to the CREZ build out.
- Website - Background from the PUCT on the CREZ projects.
- Analysis - This paper by Jacob Clark explains how broad transmission cost allocation is the key policy that enabled CREZ, and how MISO has adopted a similar policy that has enabled the MVP lines there.
Wind integration, grid operations and reliability
- Dozens of wind integration studies and other reports showing that large amounts of wind energy can be reliably integrated.
- Blog - Summary of utility wind records.
- Report - NREL discussion of the integration costs of different resources, and common misconceptions about wind integration.
Impact on reserves
- Analysis - NREL analysis showing that the total cost of reserves minimally increases at medium penetrations of wind energy, and actually decreases at higher penetrations of wind energy (page 31).
- Analysis - ERCOT’s Dave Maggio shows that wind in ERCOT is having a relatively small impact on operating reserves.
- Presentation - MISO explains that the impact of wind on its need for expensive, fast-acting regulating reserves has been “little to none.” This is because MISO also employs a fast dispatch system like ERCOT.
- Report - As shown on page 64 of the EERE 2012 Wind Technologies Market Report, most grid operators in the Western U.S. unfortunately use an hourly system for dispatching the power system and have no centralized electricity market, which results in the major jump in wind reserve needs between power systems with <15 minute scheduling and >15 minute scheduling.
Necessary grid operations improvements
Several summaries and analyses of grid operating reforms that make the power system more efficient and flexible and are beneficial for integrating wind:
- Report - NREL - Impact of Electric Industry Structure on High Wind Penetration Potential.
- Analysis - FERC - The Ability of Current U.S. Electric Industry and Transmission Rules to Accomodate High Wind Energy Penetration.
- Report - Western Governors Association - Meeting Renewable Energy Targets in the West at Least Cost: The Integration Challenge (Exec Summary).
NREL reports on the benefits of an Energy Imbalance Market:
- Report - Operating Reserve Reductions From a Proposed Energy Imbalance Market With Wind and Solar Generation in the Western Interconnection.
- Report - Examination of Potential Benefits of an Energy Imbalance Market in the Western Interconnection.
- Click here for many more reports on the benefits on an Energy Imbalance Market (at bottom of page).
Reliability and wind energy
AWEA blog posts on wind’s performance and role in warding off electricity shortages during several cold snap events:
- Blog - Wind energy helps ward off power outages
- Blog - Wind power once again saves millions by keeping energy prices in check during cold snap
- Article - Texas grid operator noting wind’s role in keeping the lights on during a February 2011 cold snap that caused many conventional power plants to fail, leading to rolling blackouts.
- Report - In NERC’s State of Reliability 2013 report, a 75-page report examining threats to grid reliability over the last year, the only mention of wind energy is one paragraph explaining that wind energy is being reliably integrated: “There were no significant reliability challenges reported in the 2011/2012 winter and the 2012 summer periods resulting from the integration of variable generation resources. More improved wind forecast tools and wind monitoring displays are being used to help system operators manage integration of wind resources into real-time operations,” (page 47).
- Report - An International Energy Agency report finding that large amounts of wind energy are being reliably integrated, in part because wind energy’s output is characterized by geographic diversity that cancels out the majority of wind variability and forecast errors, while much of the remaining variability is canceled out by load variability and variability in the output of conventional generators.
- Report - The NERC report “Accommodating High Levels of Variable Generation” finds that in many regards wind generators have the same or better reliability capabilities as conventional generators, and that large quantities of renewable generation can be reliably accommodated with updates to make grid operating procedures that are needed anyway.
- Report - A new NREL report on how wind plants can provide frequency response, inertial response, and frequency regulation as well or better than conventional power plants.
- Presentation - A presentation by Mark Ahlstrom, who is a markets expert for a wind company, explains how ERCOT’s 5-minute electricity market has enabled such efficient integration of wind. A key element is that with such a fast market that takes current wind output into account when dispatching the power system, you must only accommodate changes in wind output over the next five minutes, a time period over which wind output typically changes very little. Mark then runs the numbers on how much it costs to integrate wind under ERCOT’s system, and arrives at $0.50/MWh of wind. This is ten times less than the $5/MWh that is commonly assumed as the cost of integrating wind energy.
- Testimony - In footnotes 6-8, AWEA’s Rob Gramlich explains how ERCOT’s observed integration costs are actually lower than the separately calculated costs of reliably integrating the abrupt failures of large conventional power plants, which because they occur instantly and without warning require large amounts of expensive fast-acting reserves to be held 24/7.
- Thesis - Ph. D. thesis demonstrating that large amounts of wind energy are being reliably integrated in the Netherlands.
- Background - AWEA background on common misconceptions about energy storage.
- Press release - Similar storage information from a joint statement between AWEA and the storage trade association.
- Report - NREL report on energy storage.
Consumer Benefits of wind energy (some studies include transmission costs)
At least 15 studies conducted by independent grid operators, state governments, academic experts, and others have found that wind energy benefits consumers by reducing electricity prices:
- Report - Illinois found that wind energy reduces consumer electricity costs by $177 million per year.
- Report - Massachusetts found the state Renewable Portfolio Standard has a 3:1 benefit-to-cost ratio, producing annual net benefits of $217 million.
- Report - Synapse Energy Economics found that doubling wind energy deployment in PJM (Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes states) beyond existing RPS requirements would save consumers a net $6.9 billion per year, after accounting for all wind and transmission costs.
- Studies - Six peer-reviewed academic studies, discussed in this literature review, confirm that wind energy reduces electricity market prices.
- Study - Charles River Associates found that a wind and transmission investment in the Southwest Power Pool would provide $1 billion in annual consumer savings and net savings of $628-728 million per year after accounting for wind and transmission costs.
- Study - The New England Independent System Operator's wind integration study found that 14% wind energy reduced electricity prices by around 10%, while 24% wind energy reduced electricity prices by 15%.
- Analysis - Another Synapse Energy Economics analysis found large investments in wind energy in the MISO (Midwest) region would reduce power supply costs by $3 billion to $9.4 billion per year, or between $63 and $200 per customer per year, after accounting for the cost of transmission.
- Analysis - Georgia Tech and Duke University found expanded renewable energy use in the South would reduce energy bills by $14 billion in 2020 and $23 billion in 2030.
- Analysis - Colorado's Xcel Energy's wind purchases were found to save consumers $251 million on net, and additional wind purchases would save a net total of $438 million.
- Analysis - The New England Independent System Operator's January 2014 analysis found that the region’s proposed wind projects would reduce electricity market expenses by $1.074 billion per year, or $119 in savings per each MWh of wind energy.
- Blog - AWEA blog post refuting a common myth about wind energy’s impact on markets.
- White paper - AWEA Clean Air Benefits of Wind Energy paper.
- Analysis - NREL’s 80% Renewable Energy Futures analysis.
- Blog - AWEA summary (second half) of data showing how wind has greatly reduced emissions in Europe.
- Report - NREL’s report confirming that wind energy greatly reducing emissions, even after any incremental cycling of conventional power plants is taken into account, as that has a “negligible” (0.2%) impact on wind’s emissions savings.
- Report - A report to the Scottish Parliament by the utility National Grid that found that cycling reduced wind energy’s emissions benefit by 0.08%. Wind energy’s net carbon dioxide emissions savings were found to be 1012 pounds/MWh of wind energy, after taking cycling into account.
- Article - Summary of data and reports on wind’s emissions benefits.
- Report - Background on wind energy’s emissions benefits.
- Blog - Summary of press reports on wind’s benefits for consumers and emissions in Europe, including major emissions reductions in Spain.
- Press release - Data showing that wind energy is providing sustained emissions reductions.