Analyzing Major Challenges of Wind and Solar Variability in Power Systems
20 Pages Posted: 3 Mar 2014
Date Written: March 2014
Ambitious policy targets together with current and projected high growth rates indicate that future power systems will likely show substantially increased generation from renewable energy sources. A large share will come from the variable renewable energy (VRE) sources wind and solar photovoltaics (PV); however, integrating wind and solar causes challenges for existing power systems. In this paper we analyze three major integration challenges related to the structural matching of demand with the supply of wind and solar power: low capacity credit, reduced utilization of dispatchable plants, and over-produced generation. Based on residual load duration curves we define corresponding challenge variables and estimate their dependence on region (US Indiana and Germany), penetration and mix of wind and solar generation. Results show that the impacts of increasing wind and solar shares can become substantial, and increase with penetration, independently of mix and region. Solar PV at low penetrations is much easier to integrate in many areas of the US than in Germany; however, some impacts (e.g. over-production) increase significantly with higher shares. For wind power, the impacts increase rather moderately and are fairly similar in US Indiana and Germany. These results point to the need for a systems perspective in the planning of VRE, a further exploration of alternative VRE integration options, such as storage and demand side management, and the explicit consideration of integration costs in the economic evaluation of VRE.
Keywords: variable renewables, wind, solar, integration, residual load duration curves, capacity credit, curtailment
JEL Classification: Q42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation