This special interest group is for professionals to connect and discuss all types of carbon-free power alternatives, including nuclear, renewable, tidal and more.

Post

Balancing Renewable Energy and Decarbonization Policy Measures During Energy System Transformation

image credit: © Leowolfert | Dreamstime.com
Michael Cashin's picture
Principal, Energy and Environmental Policy Consultant MG Cashin Consulting

Expertise in environmental and energy policy issues that can affect electric utility stakeholders. 

  • Member since 2003
  • 2 items added with 934 views
  • Mar 23, 2021 10:03 pm GMT
  • 935 views

This item is part of the Special Issue - 2021-03 - Power Generation, click here for more

This article explores some of the challenges that emerge while the highly infrastructure-intensive American energy system is being changed or transformed to simultaneously address an array of policy objectives. These objectives include:

  • Decarbonization that is intrinsic to mitigating climate change concerns
  • Sustainability goals
  • System efficiency and conservation improvements
  • Preserving reliability and resiliency
  • Integration of  intermittent renewables, including distributed energy resources and
  • Equity issues such as energy scarcity, affordability, cost sharing and social justice.  

Your access to Member Features is limited.

While all these policy objectives have been weighing into how the energy system is designed and functions for decades, intensifying of decarbonization policies is emerging as prospectively exerting the greatest impacts on the US energy system going forward.  The energy system transformation that is emphasizing decarbonization came to the forefront with the US Senate ratification of the Framework Convention on Climate change that went in force in 1994.  National emission reduction plans were drafted with the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. They have since been intensified by the 2015 Paris Agreement that established “national ambition” targets.  The US electric energy system is already progressing towards decarbonization by shifting towards lower carbon intensity fuels.  Research and deployment of process electrification that will enable low greenhouse gas emissions electricity to serve broader national energy needs is ongoing (Reference Figure 1, EIA March 2021 Short Term Energy Outlook, US Electricity generation by fuel https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/ ).  

Extreme weather events like that which occurred in Texas and throughout the Midwest in February 2021 can give insights about how well energy system transformation reflecting current progress towards decarbonization is faring when the deployed system’s resilience gets put to the test.  These events also serve as a reminder about how successful transformation that delivers on long term policy objectives is very much a work in progress.  Notably, it is recognized that some of the technology needed to deliver on ambition-based decarbonization targets does not yet exist or has technical and policy obstacles impeding deployment, which is the target for focused research and development.  Consequently, there is an evolving energy system deployment balance point or “sweet spot” that changes over time as new technologies and management methods become available to augment and displace existing energy system components, striving to achieve ambition-based decarbonization goals while balancing other policy priorities. 

Where is that “sweet spot” that balances the array of energy system performance priorities and tradeoffs?  It is changing over time and varies across the country and between nations, reflecting regional differences in energy infrastructure like availability of hydroelectric generation, wind and solar resource, vulnerability to adverse weather conditions, urban and industrial infrastructure, and access to pipelines, railroads, waterways, prevalence of energy poverty and societal needs to improve living standards.  Regardless, management systems can be expected to deliver results reflecting the provisions and design that went into their planning and deployment.  Consequently, when it is found that the outcomes being delivered are not meeting expectations, looking at the management system attributes that were deployed with a critical eye is warranted.  Perhaps, the benefit of hindsight can discern how certain design changes could have avoided problems?  Perhaps, measures deployed to satisfy some management policy objectives were working at cross purposes with delivery of other desired outcomes?  Ideally, the initial management design deployed would stand the test of time as societal needs and priorities change.  Yet, new societal needs and development of new technology tools can be expected to come forward that were not recognized, recognizable, or available when initial measures were put into practice.  Consequently, plans that provide for updating a management system at a future date certain can balance near-term policymaker decision making with planned revisiting of evolving emerging issues during the next round of action measure planning.  The American energy system management process serves as a policy planning example. 

Simply portrayed, the Paris Agreement has nations identifying measures they will aim to deliver that can limit warming associated with man’s activities to 2 C while exploring delivery of measures that might limit warming to 1.5 C.  Figures 2 and 3 reference the IPCC Summary for Policy Makers, Special Report 1.5 C (https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/)  illustrating some alternative pathways for achieving the 1.5 C objective.  The 1.5 C pathways require much more intense policy action than the 2 C policy assessment RCP pathways referenced in Figure 4 scenarios (https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg3/ Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) with 5% and 95% confidence intervals). The IPCC suggests that achieving the RCP 4.5 has a favorable probability for limiting man’s contribution to global warming to 2C. 

Both the 1.5 C and 2 C targets exhibit common elements: emissions are temporarily increasing until they plateau and then need to decrease over time until target goals are achieved.  Yet, there is a notable difference.  The 2 C warming analysis pathways indicate there is higher probability that an overall, net negative global greenhouse gas emissions balance will not be required to meet policy objectives, whereas the 1.5 C targets present greater challenges for policy makers as they are more likely to require achieving a net zero or net negative overall greenhouse gas emissions balance.  Net zero or net negative emission reduction target delivery is challenged because technology does not yet exist that both supports delivery of final emission reduction target success and the achievement of other important societal goals like elimination of energy poverty.   

Insight to energy-system decarbonization challenges can be gained when it is recognized how delivering on the overall objective for achieving greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets over time involves deploying an array of policies customized to effectively achieve performance across all venues.  These decarbonization policies function within five different and prospectively "policy competing" components or "Policy Cost Categories" (refer to Figure 4 Emission Reduction Pathways with Policy Cost Categories).

  1. Deflection. Category 1, Deflection is from “business as usual” greenhouse gas emissions growth until a peak or plateau of man’s (anthropogenic) greenhouse gas emissions is achieved.  Decarbonization policies that allow some net emissions growth can emphasize avoiding deployment of new GHG emissions activities while allowing useful utility from existing infrastructure to be depleted.  Most nations are currently trending in this Category 1 regime, seeking to deflect their emissions growth from business as usual while still growing their economy.  It is recognized that access to affordable and reliable energy is a key input for achieving economic growth and emerging from energy poverty.  Allowing for value delivery from existing investments provides time to transform national energy systems to incorporate lower GHG emitting technology that continues to support economic growth.  Regionally, there are large differences in the hardship involved with deflecting away from greenhouse gas emissions growth, making “one size fits all” policy targets difficult if not untenable to achieve with resources currently available.  Category 1, Deflection from business as usual emissions growth can focus on deployment of new, lower or zero emissions energy technology that meets energy needs while displacing the need for deployment of new greenhouse gas emitting energy resources.  Figure 5 (Reference, World Resources Institute https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/02/greenhouse-gas-emissions-by-country-sector) illustrates how the major greenhouse gas emitting nations have varying progress towards deflecting emissions growth since the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and 2015 Paris Agreement were drafted.  Paris Agreement policy measures target to “plateau” net GHG emissions within the next ten to twenty years (refer to Figures 2, 3 and 4).
  2. Net reduction.  Category 2, net reduction of global aggregate greenhouse gas emissions over time from peak emissions is essential for achieving Paris Agreement 2.0 C or 1.5 C targets. In contrast to Category 1 policy measures that seek to curtail aggregate emissions growth, Category 2 policy measures need to emphasize retooling of existing energy infrastructure, conservation, efficiency improvements and process substitution as well as Category 1 activities that reduce net GHG emissions while sustaining economic growth.  Figure 6 Fuel Carbon ContentAn example might be the blending of hydrogen with natural gas to serve existing energy needs while lowering greenhouse gas emissions.  Similarly, greenhouse gas emissions can be significantly reduced through the substitution of low or net zero greenhouse gas emitting renewable or nuclear energy resources for fossil fuel resources.  Figure 6 presents how carbon dioxide emissions vary by fuel type (reference USEPA).  Electricity generation can be decarbonized by shifting towards lower carbon content fuels.  In turn, processes using carbon emitting fuels or feedstocks can be targeted for electrification (e.g. transition to electric vehicles charged with electricity sourced with low greenhouse gas emissions).  Policy measures that serve to reduce consumer use or demand for energy, such as energy conservation, process efficiency improvements and “demand side” management can support Category 1 and 2 achievement of decarbonization targets when energy savings reduce fossil fuel consumption. 
  3. Net negative.  Category 3, Deployment of “net negative” greenhouse gas emission technologies such as carbon capture, utilization and storage are currently deployed and can contribute to Category 1 or 2 net greenhouse gas emission reductions.  While 2 C climate objectives can currently be achieved without requiring achievement of a collective global net negative greenhouse gas emissions balance, the “ambition based” policy targets that would support the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 1.5 C climate objective identify the need to bring collective global anthropogenic emissions below net zero, effectively removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and reducing the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases.  Carbon capture, utilization, sequestration and storage can achieve project level, net negative emissions through measures such as: good forestry, agriculture and land use management practices; in ground storage of captured carbon dioxide; and enhanced oil recovery technology.  Sustaining economic growth while achieving net negative global GHG emissions is a technical challenge “work in progress” that ongoing research and development is addressing.
  4. Allowed emissions. Some GHG emissions are by necessity, allowed under policy targets that recognize the array of policy objectives other than decarbonization that need to be addressed, as well as responding to limitations in existing energy technology.  Category 4 greenhouse gas emissions are those that remain after viable and cost effective Category 1, 2 or 3 policy measures are deployed.  For example, support for integration of intermittent renewable energy resources; energy supply reliability; and reducing energy poverty might determine that utilizing natural gas based electricity generation is the best evaluated policy choice, despite there being GHG emissions from natural gas combustion. National ambition targets can also vary, as they recognize differences in hardship for reducing Category 4 emissions while sustaining economic growth.
  5. Imputed benefits and costs.  Category 5 describes how non-GHG emitting resources and activities can incur costs or receive benefits from decarbonization policy measures intended for reducing GHGs from activities that emit GHGs. Category 5 might be where some of the greatest economic impacts from decarbonization policy implementation get exhibited, perhaps intended by policymakers or as an unintended policy consequence.  An example would be the electricity energy marketplace where the price bid for the last increment of energy that satisfies customer demand sets the marginal price at which all electricity pricing is referenced for that period.  If the energy resource setting the marginal dispatch price has had its price increased due to decarbonization policy measures, all energy resources would clear pricing at this augmented level unless designated otherwise by contract or regulation.  A figurative impact would be if an energy system was 80% served by low greenhouse gas emissions renewables and nuclear energy, but needed 20% sourcing from natural gas fueled electricity to fill out customer needs for reliable and affordable electricity.  Category 5 describes how a carbon price premium overlaid on the natural gas resources setting marginal pricing can deliver a compensation benefit to all the energy resources being dispatched.  In this example, the carbon pricing premium on the resource at the margin carries a fivefold impact on consumer energy costs, that is, if a $50 per tonne CO2e premium is applied to the CO2 emitting units that set the market marginal dispatch price, the policy would behave as if energy consumers were paying $250 per tonne (metric ton) for those carbon emissions.  If the carbon pricing premium also resulted in rendering the marginal units as uneconomic and resulted in them being placed out of service without first replacing other critical service attributes like reliability service for system voltage and frequency or for support for variable weather resourced generation (wind and solar), system delivery of energy can be at a higher risk for failure. Figure 7 provides an illustrative least cost dispatch supply curve https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=7590 .  Figures 8 and 9 illustrate wind generation, weather affected wind resource that might warrant operation of fossil fueled resources to preserve service and reliability. https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=46617   Figure 10 illustrates the daily load swings expected by both changes in customer electricity demand preferences and entry and exit of solar generation as the sun rises and sets each day https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=46236 .  The fast paced shifts in resource output in the morning and afternoon tracking with solar resource availability portrays how other resources are needed to ramp up or down, compensating for weather resource induced variability while preserving reliable electricity service.  This “duck curve” portraying conditions in the higher renewable solar resourced California ISO system is characteristic of how other energy systems across the country are behaving as greater amounts of weather affected renewables are balanced into the supply system.

Decarbonization, while important, is but one of the energy system transformation policy attributes that policy makers need to pursue.  Examination of a few decarbonization related policies already being practiced provides insight about how well the balance of energy system transformation policy objectives are being supported.

Key energy system transformation policies addressing decarbonization goals: 

  1. Environmental externalities applied to energy resource selection.  Assignment of carbon dioxide emissions costs during selection of a new energy resource serves as a Category 1 policy matter since the integrated resource selection process would serve to substitute an evaluated cost effective, lower carbon emitting resource while other societal needs are being addressed (refer to figures 2, 3 and 4).  Externalities refer to prospective impacts in areas of concern that are not directly exerting costs or benefits in the cost benefit analysis used to select between energy resource alternatives. The party doing resource selection might overlay greenhouse gas emission environmental externality costs at various amounts reflective of climate change damage estimates.  If the resource is still selected after assignment of environmental externalities costs, goes into service and proceeds to emit greenhouse gases as expected, those emissions would now be reflective of Category 4, emissions allowed under climate policy implementation.  Revisiting of the resource’s environmental externalities standing might be expected at the end of its evaluated or regulator approved life.  Overlay of additional greenhouse gas emissions costs on an energy resource that already considered greenhouse gas environmental externalities could be viewed as “double counting” policy driven greenhouse gas emission restriction considerations, prospectively, placing achievement of other policy objectives at risk (e.g. system reliability, business competitiveness and regressive impacts on low income energy consumers). 
  2. Social Cost of Carbon (SCC). Cost and damaged based estimates of the social cost of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions have been implemented by some States and by the US Department of Energy.  When SCC considerations are applied to the integrated resource planning process, carbon cost penalties function similarly to environmental externalities.  Absent treatment of the social cost of carbon policy within an integrated review process that balances in other policy making objectives, the SCC treatment risks undesirable outcomes like loss of energy system reliability, business competitiveness and regressive impacts on low income energy consumers.
  3. Carbon taxes.  Energy resources have varying carbon content (refer to Figure 6).  Overlay of a carbon tax can encourage substitution of energy resources with lower greenhouse gas emissions.  Carbon taxes can also increase the cost of energy to consumers, influencing their energy purchase decisions.  However, energy consumption such as electricity use is considered economically “inelastic” in response to pricing (reference Midwest Independent System Operator analysis https://www.misoenergy.org/stakeholder-engagement/training2/learning-center/energy-industry-basics/).  Higher energy prices also exert a regressive impact on lower income customers. Revenue recycling to benefit low income consumers would not likely be structured to recapture the cost impacts due to Category 5 policy consequences (carbon pricing premium impacts on non carbon emitting products).  Overlay of carbon pricing onto energy markets without provisions to replace "duty cycle" support attributes can serve to make the fossil fueled resources operated to preserve energy system reliability uneconomic but can also increase the risk of energy system service failure (refer to figures 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10).  That “sweet spot” for energy resource balancing doesn’t benefit much from carbon tax overlays since, when in service, zero greenhouse gas emissions renewable and nuclear energy already receive preferential economic dispatch over fossil fueled resources (e.g. "variable costs" are increased due to carbon pricing but the fossil-fueled resources already exhibit higher variable costs). 
  4. Cap and trade of carbon dioxide emissions.  Emissions subject to cap and trade restrictions can overlay higher operating costs on resources that emit greenhouse gas emissions while incentivizing replacement with lower greenhouse gas emitting energy resources.  Figure 7 illustrates how electricity market economic dispatch already gives preferential dispatch to renewable energy resources that were economically deployed, relative to existing fossil fueled resources.  Consequently, cap and trade mechanisms serve to limit the use of the fossil fueled resources being operated to provide energy system reliability duty cycles that compensate for weather impacted, variable wind and solar generation.  The history of European Trading Scheme CO2 pricing has demonstrated how low greenhouse gas emissions energy resources that are made economic for deployment due to carbon dioxide cap and trade, initial allowance market pricing find that subsequent allowance market pricing collapses after the buildout of low emissions energy saturates demand.  While the caps restricting carbon dioxide emissions can be and have been reset to reinvigorate emissions trading market pricing, energy resources that depend on revenue from allowance trading can find their financial viability at risk whenever market supply of allowances exceeds demand sufficiently to collapse market price signals. Establishment of a minimum allowance pricing floor functions like a carbon tax  once deployed resources have saturated allowance market supply while maximum allowance pricing serves to help avoid costly "technology forcing" but can delay achievement of the emission cap objective until technology deployments can "catch up".  
  5. Renewable energy production tax credits. Renewables production tax credits provide a revenue stream that is contingent on levels of renewable energy production and can cost justify further deployment of qualifying resources like wind and solar energy.  Economic dispatch of electricity already gives precedence to these wind and solar resources, once deployed, because their variable costs are low relative to fossil fueled energy resources (i.e. wind and sunshine are “free”).  However, the non-renewable resources needed to stay in service to compensate for variability in weather affected renewables have minimum turn down operating levels for staying in service.  When renewables deployed are able to deliver more renewable energy than the system needs to meet customer demand for energy while the reliability support resources are at minimum operating levels, some source of generation needs to be curtailed to balance energy generation with consumption.  Once this “sweet spot” for balancing system resource operation has been reached, market conditions can present negative energy pricing in proportion to the production tax credit value that could be lost through curtailment of the renewable resource output.  Negative power pricing conditions create disincentives for the system reliability units to stay in service, just as expanding renewable energy deployment creates greater need for continued operation of complimentary resources that support system reliability. Extensive periods of negative power pricing are a symptom that policy makers have breached the threshold of the policy priority “sweet spot” such that additional reliability support measures may need to be deployed.
  6. “Green credits” and GHG emission offsets.  A market has emerged for purchase of emission reduction credits created by the actions of third parties so that businesses or individuals that cause greenhouse gases to be emitted due to their operations can affirm they have offset the adverse environmental impacts from those emissions.  “Life cycle” analysis of greenhouse gas emissions involved with credit trading transactions is needed to help assure that credit value is valid or does not get double counted.  Policymakers have defined “Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3” greenhouse gas emissions to make distinctions between GHG emissions directly released as a result of a party’s activities (Scope 1), emissions released by others to directly serve the party ‘s operations (e.g. emissions from electricity generated by utilities for customer service) (Scope 2) and other emissions associated with consumer activities (Scope 3) from sources the party does not own or control (e.g. paper used to prepare reports or emissions from public transportation).  One party’s Scope 1 emissions can be another party’s Scope 2 or 3 emissions, such that transactions to trade credits for emission reductions become business transaction situational and vulnerable to emissions leakage or double counting.  Regardless, voluntary payments made for emission reduction credits can help accelerate the deployment of lower greenhouse gas emitting resources or practices while prospectively, creating Category 5 policy considerations. 
  7. National industrial infrastructure support. Policies that recognize “energy intensive and trade exposed” (EITE)  industry as an important resource supporting national security, economic growth and good paying  jobs are balanced with decarbonization objectives that may seek to curtail use of existing inputs to production that emit greenhouse gases.  Some national policies may allow decarbonization policy exemptions or timing flexibility for their EITE industry that attempts to avoid “technology forcing” that creates adverse impacts (e.g. 2010 German Energiewende renewables surcharge exemption).  An unintended consequence from not providing enough policy flexibility to support industrial activity might include migration of the industrial activity to other nations that have chosen to not impose policy restrictions and prospectively may result in a net increase in emissions (e.g. “emissions leakage”).  Such emissions leakage and economic competitiveness concerns were a consideration when the 105th US Senate passed Resolution 98 (Byrd) by a 95-0 vote in 1997 (refer to figure 5, national emissions comparison).
  8. Renewables or low CO2e emission portfolio standards.  Policy makers can stipulate that energy providers include a minimum amount of renewable energy resources in their supply  mix.  Specific, lower average CO2 emission rates may also be designated, to be achieved over time.  Both practices serve to support Policy Cost Category 1 and Category 2 GHG emission reduction targets.  When achievement of portfolio standards are designed to displace the use of higher GHG emitting resources through an integrated planning process, overall policy maker priorities can be addressed while supporting delivery of decarbonization goals.  When the stringency or pace of deployment of portfolio standards is not balanced with overall policy maker priorities, implementation can become "technology forcing" and exhibit costs that far exceed policy maker, climate change CO2e emission damage based estimates.  
  9. Technology forcing.  Policies that would seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing energy sources by overlaying regulations that add costs to operation or limit production might become technology forcing by rendering resources as uneconomic before they could complete their designed operating life.  Technology forcing can pave the way for early deployment of new, lower greenhouse gas emitting resources, but the economic cost for early closure or lost production can far exceed the avoided, damage based cost from greenhouse gas emissions recognized by policy makers. Technology forcing also describes policy maker measures that stipulate deployment of fixed quantities of specific low GHG emission technologies regardless of best evaluated resource reviews or regulations that prohibit or overlay disincentives for the deployment of infrastructure needed to support economic operation of existing GHG emitting resources. Technology forcing measures can be performed within an integrated planning process that addresses the broad array of policy consequences for all stakeholders or might be done autonomously, shifting the costs and need for remedying adverse consequences to others, as they may occur.  
  10. Seams issues.  Electricity systems were developed over time to serve load centers from strategically located generation resources that had their output transmitted, then distributed to customers. Seams between different electricity operating systems that formed as systems were built out are now targeted for being bridged with transmission that links electric power flow between these systems, enabling reliability benefits and efficiencies to be shared between regions.  Effectively, that “sweet spot” that recognizes limits on how much weather affected renewable energy can be supported gets expanded when bridging of seams expands the availability of reliability supportive resources. Policies that provide for “hardening” of generation, transmission and distribution resources within the energy system “seams”, so that components are more resilient for restoring operation after extreme weather events, are also key for preserving the operational “sweet spot” conditions intended through integrated resource planning.    
  11. Distributed generation policies.  Increasing deployment of weather affected renewable energy resources like wind and solar includes placement of smaller renewables resources at the distribution system level while also expanding the need for operating support resources that can compensate for weather affected renewable energy production (reference figures 6, 7, 8 and 9).  System operators provide for short term reliability by planning for unexpected shut down of the largest or perhaps several largest generating units in the system.  Deployment of a large number of smaller capacity renewable units creates different behavior patterns for preserving electric system reliability than originally design that can require system modifications.  The weather impacted lost operation of renewable wind and solar generating and natural gas generating resources during the February 2021 Texas ice storm and cold weather conditions resulted in lost generation that far exceeded traditional N minus 1, N minus 2 or N minus 3 reliability provisions.  It was also observed that regional backup natural gas generation was fuel supply and distribution impaired for being able to dispatch and compensate for lost renewable energy production, as otherwise intended.  Icy weather affected natural gas infrastructure was being challenged with serving both home heating and electric generation support under high energy consumer demand conditions.    
  12. Storage incentive policies.  Energy storage measures can enhance energy system reliability by providing alternatives for supporting customer service when supply resources cannot keep up with demand or are taken out of service due to weather impacted curtailment of production or equipment failures.  Support for shifting of that “sweet spot” to accommodate greater levels of weather affected renewable energy is supported when energy storage becomes sufficient to compensate for the high ramp rates exhibited during hourly or daily solar generation cycles (Figures 8, 9 and 10).  Regional weather impacted needs for back up energy storage support varies from a few minutes to ten days or more.  The duration for which an energy storage or backup resource can satisfy customer service needs varies by the backup resource type. Carbon emission intensive resources like coal-based energy are being phased out of operation as energy system transformation provides for system decarbonization, but the typically non-monetized benefits from coal based generation include on-site storage of coal that could support weeks or months of operation during supply infrastructure interruptions.  Natural gas storage infrastructure that was initially deployed to support customer heating and industrial process energy support is being challenged to also deliver reliability services when weather affected generation is curtailed or generating unit equipment fails.  Figure 11 (Reference EIA Today in Energy, March 12, 2021 https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/) presents how natural gas resources are supporting both home heating and electricity supply reliability.  Pumped hydro storage can support system reliability while reducing net greenhouse gas emissions.  Battery storage systems are currently able to support short duration reliability demands and are targeted to achieve longer duration reliability service needs through ongoing research and development 

Energy system transformation offers great opportunities for innovation and deployment of next century technologies, just as it presents a wide array of challenges policy makers must address to resolve the evolving list of societal needs and priorities.  In context of the February 2021 weather related energy system resiliency challenges experienced in the Midwest, policy makers may find that all the decarbonization policy considerations described above were a factor in impacting the duration and severity of customer impacts.  

 

Michael Cashin's picture
Thank Michael for the Post!
Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members (like you). Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member.
More posts from this member
Discussions
Spell checking: Press the CTRL or COMMAND key then click on the underlined misspelled word.
Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Mar 24, 2021

Increasing deployment of weather affected renewable energy resources like wind and solar includes placement of smaller renewables resources at the distribution system level while also expanding the need for operating support resources that can compensate for weather affected renewable energy production

What are the types of support resources that you think complement weather-affected renewables the best, when considering aspects like reliability, cost, emissions?

Michael Cashin's picture
Michael Cashin on Mar 24, 2021

Weather affected resource describes both the natural variability in wind and solar resources as wind and sunshine vary and the vulnerabilities such resources can experience from weather events like ice storms, thunderstorms and the like. Connection to the grid is the “momentum strategy” for compensating for distributed renewables, weather affected variability.  Technology is available that enables faster recovery from weather events (e.g. warming of wind turbine lubrication systems). Emerging technologies like battery storage can be helpful for short term compensation for renewables variability. Centralizing of renewables resources can bring economies of scale for service reliability support. 

Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »