Report on Renewable Energy/U.S. Electricity Grid Released by APS
November 17, 2010 10:11 AM
Integrating Renewable Electricity on the Grid report urges for solutions regarding energy storage, long-distance transmission and forecasting
American Physical Society's
Panel on Public Affairs (POPA)
released a report
which offers suggestions on what is needed to both establish a national renewable electricity standard as well as merge the divided U.S. grid system.
The report, Integrating Renewable Electricity on the Grid, provides several recommendations for setting a national renewable electricity standard and linking the fragmented U.S. grid system in an effort to
with a broader use of solar and wind power.
In the report, the POPA suggested that the
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
should focus on energy storage, since the wind may not always blow and the sun may not always shine. If there is a shortage of electricity to a household, this could hinder their way of life for an uncertain period of time. The development of a strategy for energy storage in grid-level applications would show regulators the benefits that storing energy brings to generation and transmission services on the grid. The POPA also recommends increasing research and development in basic electrochemistry as a way of choosing materials that could be used in the storage devices. In addition, a review of the technological
potential of battery
chemistries should be conducted to see if they could be applied to grid storage and energy.
"We need to move faster to have storage ready to accommodate, for example, 20 percent of renewable electricity on the grid by 2020," said George Crabtree, co-chairman of the POPA study panel and a senior scientist at
Argonne National Laboratory
. "And, by devoting the necessary resources to the problem, I am confident that we can solve it."
Long-distance transmission is another problem facing the grid. The long-distance transmission of electricity from areas that have plenty of wind and sun to areas that do not is a challenge the DOE must overcome. To do so, the POPA suggests accelerating research and development on wide band gap power electronics as a way of controlling
power flow on the grid
. Creating semiconductor-based circuit breakers at 200 kilovolts and 50 kilo amperes as well as alternating to direct current conversion options could aid in controlling this power flow. Also, the POPA noted that extending the Office of Electricity program on High Temperature Superconductivity for 10 years while concentrating on the direct current superconducting cables for transmission would assist in insuring long-distance transmission.
What makes this report different from many other grid studies is that its recommendations provide scientific and business perspectives. On the business side of things, the POPA urges the
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
North American Electric Reliability Corporation
to first develop an "integrated business case" that covers the value of electricity storage and renewable generation as far as transmission and distribution goes. Then, adopt a "uniform integrated business case" that serves as the final evaluation and regulatory structure along with the state Public Utility Commissions.
Forecasting is the final category of recommendation the POPA addresses, suggesting that the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Center for Atmospheric Research
National Weather Service
and private vendors change time scales from hours to days in order to improve the accuracy of wind and weather forecasts. Also, wind plant operators, regulatory agencies and forecast providers should create uniform standards for both preparing and delivering power and wind generation forecasts. Regulatory agencies and Wind plant operators were also urged to create operating procedures to reply to power generation forecasts, develop criteria for contingencies and response to weather disturbances, and design response other than using conventional reserve, such as electricity storage and distant transmission.
Integrating Renewable Electricity on the Grid
was released November 16.
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