NREL study finds that wind power could be used to actively stabilize the grid

The US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and its partners from the Electric Power Research Institute and the University of Colorado have completed a comprehensive study to understand how wind power technology can assist the power grid by controlling the active power output being placed onto the system. The rest of the power system’s resources have traditionally been adjusted around wind to support a reliable and efficient system. The research that led to this report challenges that concept and suggests that high levels of variable generation capacity could be integrated into the grid as it stands.
The study, »Active Power Controls from Wind Power: Bridging the Gaps,« finds that wind power can support the power system by adjusting its power output to enhance system reliability. Additionally, the study finds that it often could be economically beneficial to provide active power control, and potentially damaging loads on turbines from providing this control is negligible. Active power control helps balance load with generation at various times, avoiding erroneous power flows, involuntary load shedding, machine damage, and the risk of potential blackouts.
»Utilities and independent system operators are all seeking strategies to better integrate wind and other variable generation into their electric systems,« NREL Analyst Erik Ela said. »Few have considered using wind power to support power system reliability.«

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