ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Staircase To More And Cheaper Grid Flexibility
For grid flexibility, utilities pushed to think beyond gas plants and storage; There are more cost-effective methods to enhance the power system's responsiveness, a new paper reports
Herman K. Trabish, April 27, 2016 (Utility Dive)
Fast-ramping natural gas plants and battery storage are the technologies most commonly considered to provide the power system flexibility for the grid to respond to sudden changes in supply and demand. But while storage continues to decline in price and gas plants have been buoyed by low prices for their fuel for a half-decade, there are a number of cheaper options, according to Grid Flexibility: Methods for Modernizing the Power Grid. It recommends that as the need for grid flexibility increases with time and higher penetrations of variable renewables, utilities should move from the least expensive flexibility options to costlier, more powerful ones.
The first among available opportunities would come with changes in the way resources are dispatched. Another flexibility option immediately available through operational changes is the use of advanced weather forecasting. Slightly further out on the time spectrum are technologies that could be implemented with better market products, market designs, or rate designs. Those include energy imbalance markets and demand response. A step further along the time and cost spectrum is increasing flexibility through the addition of transmission and distribution infrastructure and the technology that improves the interface between them. A Staircase Capabilities Market (SCM) is a conceptual market that would be operated alongside traditional capacity markets to procure resources according to their capabilities, rather than simply supplying power needs… click here for more
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