Eastern Renewable Generation Integration Study
A. Bloom, A. Townsend, D. Palchak, J. Novacheck, J. King, C. Barrows, E. Ibanez, M. O'Connell, G. Jordan, B. Roberts, C. Draxl, K. Gruchalla. NREL Technical Report NREL/TP-6A20-64472, August 2016.
*NREL 2017 Innovation & Technology Transfer Outstanding Public Information Award*
The U.S. Department of Energy commissioned the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to answer a question: What conditions might system operators face if the Eastern Interconnection (EI), a system designed to operate reliably with fossil fueled, nuclear, and hydro generation, was transformed to one that relied on wind and solar photovoltaics (PV) to meet 30% of annual electricity demand?
In this resulting study—Eastern Renewable Generation Integration Study (ERGIS)— NREL answers that question and, in doing so, gives insights on likely operational impacts of higher percentages—up to 30% on an annual energy basis with instantaneous penetrations over 50%—of combined wind and PV generation in the EI. We evaluate potential power system futures where significant portions of the existing generation fleet are retired and replaced by different portfolios of transmission, wind, PV, and natural gas generation. We explore how variable and uncertain conditions caused by wind and solar forecast errors, seasonal and diurnal patterns, weather and system operating constraints impact certain aspects of reliability and economic efficiency. Specifically, we model how the system could meet electricity demand at a 5-minute time interval by scheduling resources for known ramping events, while maintaining adequate reserves to meet random variation in supply and demand, and contingency events.