Groundbreaking Minnesota Wind Integration Study Finds
Up To 25% Wind Can Be Incorporated Reliably Into Electric
Dec 13, 2006 AWEA
Study is latest in series examining how utilities
can manage ever-larger amounts of wind power as new
technology enters mainstream Results of a new study
show that, under the right policies, utilities can
incorporate wind power into their resource portfolio,
comprising up to one-fourth of their delivered energy,
without sacrificing reliability and with minor costs
for absorbing the wind.
The Midwest Wind Integration Study, which was required
by the Minnesota legislature in 2005 to evaluate reliability
and other impacts of higher levels of wind generation
and carried out independently by EnerNex Corporation
and WindLogics, found that the total integration cost
for up to 25% wind energy delivered to all Minnesota
customers is less than one-half cent ($0.0045) per
kWh of wind generation.
The 25% penetration level of wind -- equivalent to
that provided in the U.S. today by nuclear power (20%),
or natural gas and hydropower combined (25%) -- is
predicated on operating in the Midwest Independent
System Operator (MISO) service area, control area
consolidation (currently underway in MISO), geographic
diversity of the wind power, and adequate transmission.
"With excellent input from the utilities, MISO,
wind interests, and national experts, we reached consensus
on overall study methods and assumptions, on the wind
scenarios to be studied, on the modeling approach,
and on the key findings," said Ken Wolf, Minnesota
Reliability Administrator and study manager.
"This study is groundbreaking in its examination
of the highest level of wind energy penetration ever
undertaken in an authoritative U.S. power system study,"
said Utility Wind Integration Group (UWIG) Executive
Director J. Charles Smith. UWIG brings together utilities
that have wind on their systems or are interested
in its development. "Denmark and several regions
in Europe have already achieved such high levels of
wind energy use. What this study provides is insight
into how such levels can also be accommodated here
in the U.S., and the conclusion is clear: under good
system conditions such as those in the MISO service
territory, wind energy can be readily integrated into
the utility system."
"The study is especially significant both because
of the amount of wind involved and the fact that it
was sanctioned by the Minnesota legislature,"
said American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Deputy
Policy Director Mike Jacobs. "The Minnesota study
shows that, when the wind generation is spread around
the state, and MISO markets and operators do what
they do best, integration costs are a small concern.
Like the studies that have come before, this report
shows the relative ease in absorbing the wind -- opening
the way for wind energy's benefits to be reaped on
a large scale for consumers, and for our economy,
environment, and energy security."
Beth Soholt, Director of Wind on the Wires, said,
"The study is an important piece to achieving
a higher level of wind penetration in the Midwest.
The robust participation as well as the good results
will go a long way in advancing wind power in Minnesota
and the region." Wind on the Wires brings together
wind developers, environmental organizations, tribal
representatives and clean energy advocates to remove
bottlenecks in the transmission system and give wind
energy equal access to transmission lines.
The Minnesota study is the latest in a series examining
how utilities can manage ever-larger amounts of wind
power on their systems, and it comes at a time of
strong growth for the wind industry. Even though wind
provides less than 1% of total U.S. electricity generation
today, with 2,700 megawatts (MW) expected to be completed
in 2006, wind will be the second-largest source of
new power generation (in both new capacity installed
and new electricity produced) for the second year
in a row.
The study scope included evaluation of reliability
and costs associated with increasing wind capacity
to 15%, 20% and 25% of Minnesota retail electric energy
sales by 2020. The study process included a Technical
Review Committee comprised of numerous stakeholders
from both the private and public sector: Minnesota
utilities subject to the Minnesota Renewable Energy
Objective (10% by 2015), MISO, Midwest Reliability
Organization/Mid-Continent Area Power Pool, Minnesota
Department of Commerce, Minnesota Public Utilities
Commission, Community-Based Energy Development, U.S.
Department of Energy National Laboratories (Oak Ridge
and National Renewable Energy Laboratory), Utility
Wind Integration Group, and study contractors EnerNex
and WindLogics. In particular, MISO was a key study
participant that supplied power system data and technical
expertise, as well as ran much of the system modeling.
The Minnesota report is a milestone in the wind energy
industry's and utilities' efforts to ensure strong
system reliability with minimum added expenses while
bringing online more clean and renewable wind power.
Aware of some utilities' concerns about the possible
reliability and cost impacts of integrating large
amounts of wind, and in order to provide up-to-date
information to their members, UWIG, the Edison Electric
Institute (EEI), the American Public Power Association
(APPA) and the National Rural Electric Cooperative
Association (NRECA) together issued a paper earlier
this year on the 'state of the art' of utility wind
integration. The paper, which does not advocate any
particular policy or position, was a watershed development
because these associations together represent all
the nation?s electric utilities. Wind power can have
impacts, the paper notes, but these can be managed
through proper plant interconnection, integration,
transmission planning, and system and market operations.
This and other studies are available at http://www.uwig.org.
Such wind system integration studies focus on system
integration operation costs. Estimates for fuel savings,
lower pollution compliance costs, greenhouse gas emissions
reduction, and other benefits flowing from using wind
are not usually quantified in the studies. Even so,
the UWIG-EEI-APPA-NRECA paper noted that "In
many cases, customer payments for electricity can
be decreased when wind is added to the system, because
the operating-cost increases could be offset by savings
from displacing fossil fuel generation."
The full Minnesota report, once posted, will be
on the Minnesota Public Utilities website at www.puc.state.mn.us.
The NWCC presentation, once posted, will be at www.nationalwind.org under Midwest Wind and Transmission Workshop VI.
AWEA, formed in 1974, is the national trade association
of the U.S. wind energy industry. The association's
membership includes turbine manufacturers, wind project
developers, utilities, academicians, and interested
individuals. More information on wind energy is available
at the AWEA web site: www.awea.org.