AWS Truepower, LLC, an international leader in wind and solar energy consulting and engineering services, has delivered on a U.S. Department of Energy SunShot funded project awarded in 2013 worth $799,970 to help California Independent System Operator (CAISO) more reliably incorporate solar energy into its system. AWS Truepower, along with project team members Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Siemens SmartGrid, CAISO, and Southern California Edison, achieved the project’s goal of developing an integrated toolset that integrated solar energy in a manner that effectively removed system reliability concerns without impacting energy prices resulting in a reduction of needed balancing reserves and an overall lower cost of bulk power system integration for solar generation. The integrated tools include advanced probabilistic solar power forecasts, new uncertainty quantification methods, and flexible ramping algorithms in the unit commitment and dispatch processes. When integrated, the approach removed system reliability issues in multiple historical scenarios where solar generation was identified as the culprit to system reliability issues.
The final report, recently released by the DOE, evaluates the impacts of uncertainties on CAISO transmission including the risk of overloads and voltage problems, and explores opportunities for intra-hour generation adjustments, helping to provide more flexibility for system operators. The resulting benefits culminate in more reliable grid operation in the face of increased system uncertainty and variability caused by variability associated with solar power.
“This project showed that the consideration of all sources of uncertainty over a large area combined with the comprehensive evaluation of all elements of the balancing process, i.e. capacity, ramping, and energy requirements, will help system operators more effectively balance generation against load and interchange,” said Ken Pennock, Director of Grid Solutions at AWS Truepower, and the primary author of the report, “doing so can facilitate more solar and other renewable resources on the grid without compromising reliability and control performance.”
The project identifies that solar power does not require special separate penetration level restrictions or penalization for its intermittency.
This project was a success, says John Zack, Vice President of Grid Solutions at AWS Truepower. “We have definitely demonstrated that these advancements to methods, when working together, are beneficial to not only CAISO, but to all other system operators in the United States and around the world.
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