NREL Study Shows 20 Percent Wind is Possible by 2024
Jan 20, 2010 - NREL
Analysis Shows Transmission Upgrades, Offshore Wind, and Operational Changes Needed to Incorporate 20 to 30 Percent Wind.
Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) released the Eastern Wind Integration and Transmission Study (EWITS). This unprecedented two-and-a-half year technical study of future high-penetration wind scenarios was designed to analyze the economic, operational, and technical implications of shifting 20 percent or more of the Eastern Interconnection’s electrical load to wind energy by the year 2024.
“Twenty percent wind is an ambitious goal, but this study shows that there are multiple scenarios through which it can be achieved,” said David Corbus, NREL project manager for the study. “Whether we’re talking about using land-based wind in the Midwest, offshore wind in the East or any combination of wind power resources, any plausible scenario requires transmission infrastructure upgrades and we need to start planning for that immediately.”
The study identified operational best practices and analyzed wind resources, future wind deployment scenarios, and transmission options. Among its key findings are:
“To put the scale of this study in perspective, consider that just over 70 percent of the U.S. population gets its power from the Eastern Interconnect. Incorporating high amounts of wind power in the Eastern grid goes a long way towards clean power for the whole country,” said Corbus. “We can bring more wind power online, but if we don’t have the proper infrastructure to move that power around, it’s like buying a hybrid car and leaving it in the garage.”
The EWITS Executive Summary and the full study can be downloaded for free at http://www.nrel.gov/ewits.
An EWITS media webinar will be held at 1 p.m. EST on January 20, 2010. For details, please contact Richard Sawyers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NREL is DOE’s primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.