IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - November/December 2017 - 61

Paving the Way
A Future Without Inertia
Is Closer Than You Think

U

UNLESS YOU HAVE BEEN HIBERNATING IN A
remote cave for the past decade, you will have noticed
the explosion of variable renewable generation. Wind
power and solar photovoltaics (PVs) have been
the subject of dozens of articles, just within the
pages of IEEE Power & Energy Magazine.
Charts illustrating relentless growth, such as
the example from the United States shown
in Figure 1 with futures tending toward
100% renewable energy, are common.
This figure, provided by the National
Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL),
reflects a low-cost, high-renewable projection scenario.
But closer inspection of this type of
annual energy data alone doesn't support
concerns about a zero-inertia world. After
all, in Figure 1, look at the most extreme
reaches of 2050. Only wind turbines and
PV systems are converter-based technologies, providing about 60% of the energy in the
2050 scenario. Only just over half the energy comes
from nonsynchronous resources, and that's more than
30 years in the future. Isn't this article a bit premature?

Everyone Knows Renewables Are Coming
Remember: It's Power, Not Energy

©ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/NIKADA

The reality of wind and solar generation is well understood to be dominated by the
availability of the resource; i.e., is it windy or sunny? Sometimes, a considerable amount of
wind and PV power will be available when there is relatively little load. The concept of

By Thomas Ackermann, Thibault Prevost, Vijay Vittal,
Andrew J. Roscoe, Julia Matevosyan, and Nicholas Miller
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/MPE.2017.2729138
Date of publication: 18 October 2017

november/december 2017

1540-7977/17©2017IEEE

ieee power & energy magazine

61


http://www.ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/NIKADA

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