NewEnergyNews: WIND MAKES THE GRID MORE RELIABLE

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    Thursday, September 18, 2014

    WIND MAKES THE GRID MORE RELIABLE

    Study of Eastern U.S. Shows Wind Energy Could Stabilize the Grid

    Robert Fares, Sept. 16, 2014 (Scientific American)

    “…[W]ind turbines might actually be a valuable tool for controlling and stabilizing the grid in the future…To understand the source of this counterintuitive result—and its implications…[Frequency regulation] is the process through which the grid operator maintains the frequency of the grid’s alternating current at a precise, predetermined level…To maintain this level of frequency, the grid operator must carefully ramp power plants up and down so that the total amount of electricity flowing into the grid is perfectly balanced with the total electricity being withdrawn by electricity customers…Concern about the effect of wind energy on the grid stems from the fact that wind turbines cannot produce power on demand, so intuitively it seems like adding too much wind energy might reduce the grid operator’s capability to keep the grid’s frequency balanced…[but Eastern Frequency Response Study from the National Renewable Energ Lab (NREL)] suggests otherwise…[T]he authors found that wind turbines could actually help stabilize the grid if they hold back just 5 percent of their power output using governor and inertial mechanical controls. By doing so, turbines unlock the ability to rapidly increase or decrease their power output by a small amount if called upon to do so by the grid operator…” click here for more

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