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300% reserve margin by 2040! That is not a typo.

image credit: Courtesy: ISO New England
Kent Knutson's picture
Energy Market Specialist, Hitachi Energy USA Inc.

Kent Knutson is a market specialist focusing on energy industry intelligence for Hitachi Energy.  He has more than 30 years of experience designing and developing intelligence products for some...

  • Member since 2018
  • 227 items added with 157,507 views
  • Aug 3, 2022

This is a nice assessment by Utility Dive: Energy and Utility News's Robert Walton covering ISO New England Inc.'s new report: The Future Grid Reliability Study - Phase 1. The report summarizes a number of decarbonization scenarios in 2040 and highlights the importance of diversity in future resource mix to be sure the lights stay on, and the grid remains reliable.


Peter Farley's picture
Peter Farley on Aug 9, 2022

The original concept of a reserve margin in a renewable world is fairly meaningless. The US grid has 900 GW of dispatchable generation which in turn could theoretically supply more than 6,500 TWh/y, but it actually provides a peak of about 550 GW and annual output of about 3,600 TWh. If you build enough wind and solar to supply 7,000 TWh of energy per year would need about 2,700 GW of capacity, so in conventional terms that is a reserve margin of 2,700/550 = 480%.

While this sounds an impossible number, in about ten years Germany expects to have 370 GW of wind and solar in an area of 350,000 square km - roughly 1 MW/square km. The US has far more open land and roof space for solar per person than Germany, twice as much hydro so it could easily install 1.3-1.5 MW/square km. At the lower end that is 10,400 GW capacity. As for ISO New England its power demand per square km is about 2/3rds of Germany but it has much more access to hydro and potentially offshore wind, so again quite manageable.  


Mark Silverstone's picture
Mark Silverstone on Aug 10, 2022

If this becomes a reality, does it make it possible to close down the remaining 3 nuclear facilities?  Would it be cost effective?

Kent Knutson's picture
Thank Kent for the Post!
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