The Final Report and Executive Summary for the Western Wind and Solar Integration Study have been completed.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is the nation's primary laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development (R&D).
NREL’s Wind System Integration Team is in the process of undertaking the Western Wind and Solar Integration Study based on data gathered with the help of WestConnect transmission owners. The goal of this study is to help states in the mountain and southwest regions understand the operating impacts and mitigation options due to the variability and uncertainty of large penetrations of wind and solar power.
The Study footprint includes the following members of WestConnect: Arizona Public Service, El Paso Electric, Nevada Power, Public Service of New Mexico, Sierra Pacific, Salt River Project, Tucson Electric Power, Tri-State Generation and Transmission, Western Area Power Administration and Xcel Energy. This is one of the largest wind and solar integration studies to date. The study will address issues such as:
- Is it more cost-effective for Arizona to use in-state renewable resources or import better class resources from out-of-state?
- How much can geographically diverse renewable resources help with utility integration?
- What are the benefits of balancing area cooperation to manage the variability?
- How much can wind and solar forecasting help with utility integration?
Statistical analysis and production simulations will be conducted for high renewables penetrations of 30% wind power, 3.5% concentrating solar power (CSP) and 1.5% PV (all percentages in terms of energy consumption).
In addition to modeling the Study footprint, all of WECC will be modeled so that imports and exports are captured. The weather and load years of 2004, 2005 and 2006 will be modeled, forecast out to 2017.
The data collection phase of the Study has been completed and includes the development of 10 minute wind profiles and hourly CSP and PV profiles for good resource sites in the western US.
The analysis phase is underway and NREL will hold a stakeholder meeting on August 14 in Denver, CO, to review the statistical analysis and proposed scenarios for modeling. We anticipate preliminary model results late in 2008 with final results and a final report in the first half of 2009.
For more information on this study, please contact Debra Lew at NREL or 303-384-7037.