New Evaluation Wasted Wind Power

WASHINGTON (November 16, 2021)—Wind is an considerable, clear, dependable, and low-cost supply of electrical energy that we should proceed growing to assist deal with the local weather disaster. But grid operators, who’re chargeable for balancing vitality provide with demand, are compelled to scale back the output from wind generators and permit dirtier types of vitality like coal to make up the distinction. A brand new reality sheet by the Union of Involved Scientists (UCS), “Why Does Wind Power Get Wasted?” explores the primary causes of wind curtailment, which embody inadequate transmission capability, rigid operation of coal-fired energy crops, and a scarcity of storage. Understanding the causes and options for wind curtailment is important for accelerating the transition to a cleaner, extra reasonably priced energy system.

UCS commissioned evaluation from Synapse Power Economics to analyze wind curtailment within the Southwest Energy Pool (SPP), a regional grid spanning from North Dakota to elements of Texas. The info is obvious—there have been no situations the place wind vitality provide may have exceeded demand. In truth, in all hours the place wind was curtailed, different higher-cost, more-polluting assets had been nonetheless on-line.

“Saying that wind curtailment occurs on account of ‘wind oversupply’ creates misunderstanding across the precise downside,” says Joe Daniel, creator of the actual fact sheet and supervisor of electrical energy markets at UCS. “It suggests that there’s already an excessive amount of wind vitality on our vitality grid when the alternative is true. We want extra wind vitality if we’re to scale back emissions and struggle local weather change, which implies we should additionally deal with the shortcomings in our system that trigger it to be wasted.”

Fixing the constraints that result in curtailment may save clients tens of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in electrical energy prices and cut back carbon air pollution by hundreds of thousands of tons a 12 months. Options embody new transmission investments; working coal extra flexibly; and increasing vitality storage tasks.

“We could possibly be avoiding important quantities of wind curtailment,” stated Daniel, “by constructing extra transmission to extra successfully transfer renewable vitality throughout the grid, by turning coal crops down or off in order that renewables can get from the grid to the load, and by constructing storage to take in any remaining renewable vitality that can not be used or exported. When wind is obtainable, burning coal is all the time costlier, so why waste wind?”

To be taught extra about wind curtailment, see Daniel’s weblog put up “Mythbusting ‘Wind Oversupply.’”

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