Study Identifies Challenges, Solutions To Adding More Wind To Grid

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The recently released SPP WITF Wind Integration Study, conducted by Charles River Associates (CRA) on behalf of the Southwest Power Pool Inc. (SPP) Wind Integration Task Force (WITF), found that enhanced electricity reserves and major transmission reinforcements are needed to integrate higher levels of wind generation into the SPP transmission system and energy markets.

If the needed transmission upgrades were completed, there would be no significant technical barriers or reliability impacts to integrating wind energy levels of up to 20%, according to the study. Currently, approximately 4% of the region's electricity is generated by wind.

The study examined three wind penetration levels and compared each to current system conditions. Detailed analysis was completed on 10% and 20% wind levels by annual energy, while limited analysis was completed on a 40% case. SPP wind generation resources are primarily located in the western part of the region, typically in sparsely populated locations with little transmission and electricity demand.

The study found that an increase in the wind penetration level causes changes in power flow patterns – particularly increased flow from the western to the eastern part of the region – requiring upgrades and/or reconfigurations to the transmission system.

To accommodate the increased west-to-east flows while meeting SPP's electric reliability standards, new transmission lines totaling 1,260 miles of 345 kV lines and 40 miles of 230 kV lines are needed for the 10% case scenario. For the 20% case scenario, an additional 485 miles of 765 kV lines, 766 miles of 345 kV lines, 205 miles of 230 kV lines and 25 miles of 115 kV lines are needed.

Assuming all needed transmission upgrades and an SPP day-ahead market are in place, integrating the levels of wind studied in the 10% and 20% cases could be attained without adversely impacting SPP system reliability, the study also says.

SPP's regional state committee and board of directors will hear a WITF report later this month. Study recommendations have been assigned to SPP working groups for further consideration and development. The groups will report back on their progress at the April 2010 Markets and Operations Policy Committee meeting.

SOURCE: Southwest Power Pool Inc.

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