skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Sunny with a Chance of Curtailment: Operating the US Grid with Very High Levels of Solar Photovoltaics

Abstract

With rapid declines in solar photovoltaic (PV) and energy storage costs, futures with PV penetrations approaching or exceeding 50% of total annual U.S. generation are becoming conceivable. The operational merits of such a national-scale system have not been evaluated sufficiently. Here, we analyze in detail the operational impacts of a future U.S. power system with very high annual levels of PV (>50%) with storage. We show that load and operating reserve requirements can be met for all hours while considering key generator operational constraints. Storage plays an active role in maintaining the balance of supply and demand during sunset hours. Under the highest PV penetration scenario, hours with >90% PV penetration are relatively common, which require rapid transitions between predominately conventional synchronous generation and mostly inverter-based generation. We observe hours with almost 400 GW (over 40%) of economic curtailment and frequent (up to 36%) hours with very low energy prices. (>50%) with storage. We show that load and operating reserve requirements can be met for all hours while considering key generator operational constraints. Storage plays an active role in maintaining the balance of supply and demand during sunset hours. Under the highest PV penetration scenario, hours with >90% PV penetrationmore » are relatively common, which require rapid transitions between predominately conventional synchronous generation and mostly inverter-based generation. We observe hours with almost 400 GW (over 40%) of economic curtailment and frequent (up to 36%) hours with very low energy prices.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States). Strategic Energy Analysis Center
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Solar Energy Technologies Office (EE-4S)
OSTI Identifier:
1573409
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1571904
Report Number(s):
NREL/JA-6A20-71948
Journal ID: ISSN 2589-0042
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
iScience
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 21; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 2589-0042
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
14 SOLAR ENERGY; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY, AND ECONOMY; photovoltaic generation; solar energy; energy storage; renewables; production cost modeling; ramping; net load; curtailment; thermal cycling; energy prices

Citation Formats

Frew, Bethany, Cole, Wesley, Denholm, Paul, Frazier, A. Will, Vincent, Nina, and Margolis, Robert. Sunny with a Chance of Curtailment: Operating the US Grid with Very High Levels of Solar Photovoltaics. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1016/j.isci.2019.10.017.
Frew, Bethany, Cole, Wesley, Denholm, Paul, Frazier, A. Will, Vincent, Nina, & Margolis, Robert. Sunny with a Chance of Curtailment: Operating the US Grid with Very High Levels of Solar Photovoltaics. United States. doi:10.1016/j.isci.2019.10.017.
Frew, Bethany, Cole, Wesley, Denholm, Paul, Frazier, A. Will, Vincent, Nina, and Margolis, Robert. Fri . "Sunny with a Chance of Curtailment: Operating the US Grid with Very High Levels of Solar Photovoltaics". United States. doi:10.1016/j.isci.2019.10.017.
@article{osti_1573409,
title = {Sunny with a Chance of Curtailment: Operating the US Grid with Very High Levels of Solar Photovoltaics},
author = {Frew, Bethany and Cole, Wesley and Denholm, Paul and Frazier, A. Will and Vincent, Nina and Margolis, Robert},
abstractNote = {With rapid declines in solar photovoltaic (PV) and energy storage costs, futures with PV penetrations approaching or exceeding 50% of total annual U.S. generation are becoming conceivable. The operational merits of such a national-scale system have not been evaluated sufficiently. Here, we analyze in detail the operational impacts of a future U.S. power system with very high annual levels of PV (>50%) with storage. We show that load and operating reserve requirements can be met for all hours while considering key generator operational constraints. Storage plays an active role in maintaining the balance of supply and demand during sunset hours. Under the highest PV penetration scenario, hours with >90% PV penetration are relatively common, which require rapid transitions between predominately conventional synchronous generation and mostly inverter-based generation. We observe hours with almost 400 GW (over 40%) of economic curtailment and frequent (up to 36%) hours with very low energy prices. (>50%) with storage. We show that load and operating reserve requirements can be met for all hours while considering key generator operational constraints. Storage plays an active role in maintaining the balance of supply and demand during sunset hours. Under the highest PV penetration scenario, hours with >90% PV penetration are relatively common, which require rapid transitions between predominately conventional synchronous generation and mostly inverter-based generation. We observe hours with almost 400 GW (over 40%) of economic curtailment and frequent (up to 36%) hours with very low energy prices.},
doi = {10.1016/j.isci.2019.10.017},
journal = {iScience},
number = C,
volume = 21,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {11}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record
DOI: 10.1016/j.isci.2019.10.017

Save / Share: