IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - November/December 2017 - 22

It's Indisputable
Five Facts
About Planning
and Operating
Modern Power
Systems

A

AN INDISPUTABLE FACT CANNOT BE
rebutted. It is supported by theory and experience. Over the past 25 years, wind and solar
generation has undergone dramatic growth,
resulting in a variety of experiences that model
the integration of wind and solar into the planning and operation of modern electric power
systems. In this article, we bring together examples from Europe, North America, and Australia to identify five indisputable facts about
planning and operating modern power systems.
Taken together, we hope these experiences
can help build consensus among the engineering and public policy communities about the
current state of wind and solar integration and
also facilitate conversations about evolving
future challenges.

Fact One: The Grid Can Handle
More Renewable Generation
Than Previously Believed

©ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/ARTHOBBIT

Modern power systems are more flexible than
was previously thought possible. The first modern wind and solar power plants were built in
the 1980s. Their capacity factors were low, and
their output was unpredictable. Most serious
engineers considered these systems incapable
of serving meaningful amounts of load without massive batteries. Only dreamers imagined
100% instantaneous wind penetration levels
such as those achieved today in Denmark, South
Australia, and Portugal. Even if renewables
could work in remote locations, most
operators and engineers had reservations about whether large regional
systems could operate reliably with
wind and solar at scale.
Initial analyses focusing on the
feasibility of integrating wind and
solar generation technologies were
not optimistic. One of the earliest assessments of wind power integration
occurred in Denmark in the early 1990s. At that
time, the system operator of West Denmark
concluded that the power system could tolerate
fewer than 300 MW of installed wind capacity. Today, that same system has experienced a

Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/MPE.2017.2729079
Date of publication: 18 October 2017

22

ieee power & energy magazine

1540-7977/17©2017IEEE

november/december 2017


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IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - November/December 2017 - Cover3
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