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A Realistic View of Renewables Christine Risch. STaR Symposium October 22, 2013. Factors Affecting Utilization of Renewables. Weather. $/MWh. 60 hz. $/MW. $22/MWh. Electricity Generated with Renewables - All U.S . in 2012: MWh & Share (12%). Hydroelectric. Hydroelectric %.

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A realistic view of renewables christine risch
A Realistic View of RenewablesChristine Risch

STaR Symposium

October 22, 2013

A realistic view of renewables christine risch

Factors Affecting Utilization of Renewables



60 hz



Electricity generated with renewables all u s in 2012 mwh share 12
Electricity Generated with Renewables - All U.S. in 2012: MWh & Share (12%)


Hydroelectric %

Other Renewables

(mostly wind)

Other Renewables %

Technical issues
Technical Issues

  • System Reliability – NERC says not much of an issue yet, but are concerned for expansion

  • Enabling technology – DR, energy storage, PEVs, etc. that increase flexibility

  • Managing Variability – forecasting output

  • Increased need for reserves; not a major issue now, but will become bigger

  • Increasing connectivity of balancing areas

Institutional issues
Institutional Issues

  • Cost Allocation: ISO-level transmission costs are absorbed uniformly by all loads regardless of the benefits received

  • Size of market: bigger is better, integrated markets share reserves and can better adjust for variability

  • Enabling grid services: demand for new types of flexible reserves with correct sub-hourly price signals

  • Market participation: supply of non-conventional services, e.g. DR, energy storage, PEVs

  • Mandates/Incentives: RPSs; $22/MWh PTC

Economic issues
Economic Issues

  • Levelized cost of electricity ($/MWh) – renewables and fossil converging, but not only factor

  • Cost to get to market: perhaps $40-$70 billion of transmission expansion cost to satisfy existing state-level RPSs through 2025 (Brattle Group)

  • Integration Costs: are positive, possibly as low as $2 to $5/MWh for wind at up to 35% of MW

  • Wholesale price distortion due to PTC

Where we are
Where We Are

  • Renewable Energy is 12% of total annual electricity generated in the U.S. including hydro

  • Wind already > 20% annual energy in places: IA, SD.

  • Varies by region: Some utilities at >10% wind capacity as % of peak load, e.g. Xcel Energy

  • In some time periods wind as much as 50% of energy produced: Ireland, BPA.

  • NREL says can get to 80% renewables (w geothermal and biomass) if its suggestions are deployed

  • Base load resources are necessary because they are dispatchable; allow integration of variable resources