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Chapter 9 - Impact of variable renewable energy sources on bulk power system planning and operations

CSS Publication Number
Full Publication Date
May 7, 2021

Wind and solar photovoltaics (PV) have experienced remarkable growth in recent years, with many consequent benefits within and outside of power systems. At the same time, wind and solar PV have unique characteristics relative to the historically dominant dispatchable technologies like coal, gas, and nuclear power plants that have required and will continue to require changes in power system planning and operations. This chapter discusses planning and operational challenges of integrating wind and solar PV into bulk power systems. We first present the key characteristics of wind and solar PV that differentiate it from conventional technologies, such as variable and uncertain electricity generation, asynchronous interconnection to the power system, and near-zero marginal costs. We then link these characteristics to power system planning and operational challenges at low through high wind and solar penetrations. Finally, we discuss near- and long-term solutions to those challenges, such as diversifying the generation mix and wind and solar fleets, improving system flexibility, diversifying ancillary service products, and integrating generation and transmission planning.

Carlo Brancucci
Research Areas
Energy Systems

Bulk power system



Power system

Renewable energy



Publication Type
Book Chapter
Digital Object Identifier
Full Citation

Michael Craig, Carlo Brancucci, Chapter 9 - Impact of variable renewable energy sources on bulk power system planning and operations, Editor(s): Alessandro Rubino, Alessandro Sapio, Massimo La Scala, Handbook of Energy Economics and Policy, Academic Press, 2021, Pages 363-394. CSS21-57