The addition of wind power to the mix of energy generation actually has been shown to contribute to grid resiliency. Which may come as a surprise to faithful fossil fuel heads.
A new study investigating wind power and grid resiliency by GE’s Energy Consulting business in late-August found that wind power can substantially enhance grid resiliency when coupled with appropriate modern plant controls. Scenarios where the US electrical grid suffered large-scale interruptions, such as multiple power plants tripping offline, were the catalyst for GE’s research.
GE’s study explored how the US grid would respond to a major event and still maintain its resiliency if wind power were added to the mix. Unsurprisingly, the study concluded that wind power was more effective than thermal generation in “controlling frequency on the grid due to its ability to respond more quickly.”
“While GE’s study considered the impact of wind power on the Eastern Interconnection of the US, the lessons we’ve learned can be applied in Europe and around the globe,” said Nicholas Miller, lead author of the study and senior technical director for GE’s Energy Consulting business.
“The conclusions demonstrate that wind power can be more effective in maintaining frequency than thermal generation when wind farms are equipped with grid friendly controls. These findings should show that the future of wind energy is bright and it will continue to play a larger role in the power we consume.”
“As one of the global renewable technology leaders, GE has worked from the outset to constantly understand the growing potential of renewable energy,” Miller continued. “To meet the growing demand we have developed a broad portfolio of plant control technologies and expertise to enable greater renewable generation and improve frequency response. Consequently, wind power has become an important contributor to maintain grid resiliency.”
Such studies lend credence to existing opinions that wind power could have a significant benefit to energy grids, not only in case of emergency. Despite being entirely-dependent on weather, their inherent flexibility could make them an important part of electrical grids moving forward.
As a result, grid technology will need to move forward at the same pace as wind and other weather-reliant renewable technologies, so that integration is less convoluted than we have already seen.