Posted in | News | Renewable Energy | Wind Power

Integrating 20% Wind Energy is Feasible by 2024: National Renewable Energy Laboratory Study

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) released the Eastern Wind Integration and Transmission Study (EWITS), which is a two-and-a-half year technical study that examines high-penetration wind scenarios of the future. The Eastern Wind Integration and Transmission Study was designed to analyze the operational, technical and economic implications of moving Eastern Interconnection’s electrical load amounting to 20% or more to wind energy by the year 2024.

David Corbus, NREL Project Manager for the study, remarked that the study suggests many scenarios to achieve 20 percent wind, which indeed is a challenging goal. Corbus suggested that any possible scenario will need transmission infrastructure upgrades and that the company should begin its appropriate planning procedures to meet this requirement. Corbus remarked that the company can bring in an increasing amount of wind power online with the usage of proper infrastructure to move the power around.

Operational best practices were identified by this study which also examined transmission options, wind resources and future wind deployment scenarios. This study reveals that the integration of 20 percent wind energy is technically practicable but it will be realized only if the system operational changes and the transmission infrastructure are expanded. The absence of transmission enhancements will require a significant curtailment of wind generation for all the 20 percent wind scenarios that have been analyzed.

Only a small portion of the entire annualized cost in any of the examined scenarios is represented by the relative cost of expanding the existing transmission grid. Wind energy becomes a more reliable energy source and less expensive when it is drawn from a larger geographic area. The gathered wind power output becomes less variable and more predictable when the geographic diversity of wind power projects increase in a given operating pool.

Development of wind energy is an inexpensive way to reduce carbon emissions. Less energy from fossil-fuel burning plants is required as an increasing amount of wind energy comes online. This in turn reduces the emissions of greenhouse gases.


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