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CEIC-12-03

The Effect of Long-distance Interconnection on Wind Power Variability
Emily Fertig, Warren Katzenstein, Jay Apt, and Paulina Jaramillo 

Abstract:
We use time- and frequency-domain techniques to quantify the extent to which long-distance interconnection of wind plants in the United States would reduce the variability of wind power output. Previous work has shown that interconnection of just a few wind plants across moderate distances could greatly reduce the ratio of fast to slow-ramping generators in the balancing portfolio. We find that interconnection of aggregate regional wind plants would not reduce this ratio further but would reduce variability at all frequencies examined (connecting ERCOT and CAISO, for example, would reduce variability by 32 % in CAISO and 17 % in ERCOT). Interconnection of just a few wind plants reduces the average hourly change in power output, but interconnection across regions provides little further reduction. Interconnection also reduces the magnitude of low-probability step changes and doubles firm power output (capacity available at least 92 % of the time) compared with a single region. First-order analysis indicates that balancing wind and providing firm power with local natural gas turbines would be more cost-effective than with transmission interconnection. For net load, increased wind capacity would require more balancing resources but in the same proportions by frequency as currently. This justifies treating wind as negative load.

 

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