ORIGINAL REPORTING: Has California found a solution for hybrid solar-wind-storage projects?
FERC summit highlights reliability concerns for renewables + storage, but has California found a solution? Developers doubt the reliability threat, and say the hybrid boom will serve the power system.
Herman K. Trabish, Sept. 3, 2020 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: System operators across the country continue to acknowledge the growing flexibility value of hybrid resources and work to integrate them.
New data shows hybrid renewables+storage projects grew even faster in 2019 than previously reported. The last major obstacle to ever greater deployment may be easing system operators' reliability concerns.
Federal regulators took a big step toward an overdue rulemaking to address those concerns at a July 23 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission conference. Participation by Commissioner Richard Glick suggested action will follow, advocates told Utility Dive. They and system operators are working toward market rules that will enable hybrids' unique value.
Renewables with storage offer many potential benefits, Andrew Levitt, PJM Interconnection senior market design specialist, said in filed comments. Though concerns about reliability are real, hybrids can "mitigate operational issues" from variable renewables' "fluctuating output," by increasing developers' "flexibility to produce more power during times of higher economic and reliability value," Levitt said.
But many system operators are "comfortable with conventional plants' quirks and failure modes, while hybrids are unfamiliar," NextEra Energy Vice President of Renewable Energy Policy and Board President of the Energy Systems Integration Group Mark Ahlstrom, told the conference. "The need for the familiar should not limit services hybrids can offer at their developers' risk," he added.
Hybrids' falling costs and rising value have driven queued capacity to almost ten times the 14 GW in operation today. If FERC does not accelerate rule changes allowing hybrids to be treated like other resources and earn full compensation in wholesale markets, growth could be obstructed, conference participants said. But solutions like congestion mitigation are emerging, they agreed.
There is a "tsunami" of queued hybrid capacity, California Independent System Operator (CAISO) Infrastructure Contracts and Management Director Deb LeVine told the conference. PJM's Levitt, ISO New England (ISO-NE) Transmission Services and Resource Qualification Director Al McBride and Mid-Continent ISO (MISO) Senior Resource Interconnection Engineer Noel Augustine agreed… click here for more