NewEnergyNews: The Economics Of Curtailment

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    Thursday, June 27, 2019

    The Economics Of Curtailment

    Renewable Energy Curtailment 101: The Problem That’s Actually Not a Problem At All

    Mark Specht, June 25, 2019 (Union of Concerned Scientists)

    “…[I]n the spring and early summer, abundant sunshine, blustery winds, and rushing rivers all coalesce…[with mild temperatures and low electricity use in California to cause] times when there is more electricity available than we can possibly use…[This leads to the] purposeful reduction in renewable electricity output…[Curtailment of renewable energy has been on the rise over the past few years in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) service territory, but is still only] a couple percent of all the renewable energy generated…[System-wide oversupply] occurs when, on a large scale, there is simply not enough demand for all the renewable electricity that is available…[Local transmission constraints cause curtailment] when there is so much renewable electricity in a local area that there is insufficient transmission infrastructure to deliver that electricity to a place where it could be used…

    [I]n the first five months of 2019, just over half of all [California] curtailment occurred due to local transmission constraints…[and] roughly three-fifths of all curtailment in 2018 was due to local transmission constraints…[It does not make economic sense to build all the infrastructure (e.g. transmission lines or energy storage) that would be required to utilize every last drop of renewable electricity…[The CAISO has eight ways to] put excess renewable electricity to good use…[A]ny of the CAISO’s eight solutions could help address system curtailment…but they won’t do much to alleviate local curtailment unless those technologies are deployed in the local area…[C]urtailment isn’t a problem, [but addressed smartly, it can be] an opportunity…” click here for more

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