Preface. This overview of challenges for wind and solar written in 2010 is still true today. We are far from being able to reach even a 50% renewable grid (excluding hydropower from the total) given the lack of storage, the problem that the best wind and solar are far from towns and cities – too far to justify extending transmission lines, we lack a “smart grid” system due to the many challenges of processing huge amounts of data, and so on.
California is up to 29% renewable power, but it is terribly seasonal, and not dependable for more than half of the year, when the majority of power needs to come from fossil fuels, mainly natural gas.
I liked this paper because it is less technical than most papers on this topic, probably because it was written for policymakers.A
Meier, Alexandra von. 2010. Challenges to the Integration of Renewable Resources at High System Penetration. California Energy Commission, California Institute for Energy and Environment. Publication number: CEC-500-2014-042.
Renewable and distributed resources introduce space (spatial) and time (temporal) constraints on resource availability and are not always available where or when they are wanted. Although every energy resource has limitations, the constraints associated with renewables may be more stringent and different from those constraints that baseload power systems were designed and built around.
These unique constraints must be addressed to mitigate problems and overcome difficulties while maximizing the benefits of renewable resources. New efforts are required to coordinate time and space within the electric grid at greater resolution or with a higher degree of refinement than in the past.
This requires measuring and actively controlling diverse components of the power system on smaller time scales while working toward long-term goals.
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