Leaked DOE report shows grid coping well with more wind
Variable renewable resources are not a reliability risk for America’s electricity grid, according to a leaked preliminary draft of a closely watched report for the US Department of Energy (DOE).
Bloomberg and other news outlets, including the Washington Post, reported on the leaked staff report in mid-July.
“The power system is more reliable today due to better planning, market discipline and better operating rules and standards,” the draft said. “The grid is in good shape. System resiliency continues to improve.” The final version of the report is likely to be politically massaged.
Some renewables proponents have warned that the document — by the pro-fossil-fuel Trump administration — may fault wind and solar as unreliable, an outdated point of view. The study was led by Travis Fisher, a former economist at the right-of-centre Institute for Energy Research.
Fisher previously criticised the existence of federal tax credits for renewables, according to US political website The Hill.
Within days of the leak, the excerpts reported in the news had been changed, according to the DOE. The report’s release date was unclear as Windpower Monthly went to press.
“I’ve asked the staff of the Department of Energy to undertake a critical review of regulatory burdens placed by the previous administration on baseload generators,” energy secretary Rick Perry said in June. Barack Obama’s administration had championed renewables.
The US’s multi-state regional transmission operators (RTOs) and independent system operators (ISOs) are used to working with wind’s variability.
Ercot, the RTO that oversees the grid in most of Texas, set up a reliability risk desk in January to oversee the state’s renewables — mainly wind — as well as inertia and ancillary services, such as extra reserves in case a plant suddenly goes offline. Based in Taylor, Texas, the reliability risk desk operates 24/7.