Research Evaluation of Wind Generation, Solar Generation, and Storage Impact on the California Grid

Posted: June 1, 2010 - 19:00 / CEC / Reports

This report analyzes the effect of increasing renewable energy generation on California’s electricity system and assesses and quantifies the systemʹs ability to keep generation and energy consumption (load) in balance under different renewable generation scenarios. In particular, researchers assessed four key elements necessary for integrating large amounts of renewable generation on California’s power system. Researchers concluded that accommodating 33 percent renewables generation by 2020 will require major alterations to system operations. They also noted that California may need between 3,000 to 5,000 or more megawatts (MW) of conventional (fossil‐fuel‐powered or hydroelectric) generation to meet load and planning reserve margin requirements.

The study examines the relative benefit of deploying electricity storage versus utilizing conventional generation to regulate and balance load requirements. To reach storage’s full potential, researchers developed new control schemes to take advantage of higher response speeds of fast storage, examined storage performance requirements, and noted maximum useful amounts to meet both regulation and balancing requirements. Researchers also noted the effectiveness of storage technologies, in comparison to conventional generation, to meet energy systems’ need to accommodate large output changes of energy resources in a relatively short period.

The report provides policy and research options to ensure optimum use of electricity storage with the associated increase in renewable generation connected to the system.