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Workshop to address impact of renewables on utility operations


PRNewswire/ — “Integrating Renewables into the Generation Mix: Challenges and Unknowns,” a one-day workshop to be held in Reno, Nevada on September 13, will explore how green-energy requirements (aka Renewable Portfolio Standards or RPS) may adversely impact operation and maintenance of the nation’s electric power system assets.

Two-dozen expert speakers and panelists will delve into the challenges utilities, merchant generators, grid operators, and others face in maintaining the electric reliability, power quality, and cost of service all customer classes have come to expect. The meeting, to be held at The Peppermill Resort, will be presented by the Combustion Turbine Operations Task Force (CTOTF), in cooperation with NV Energy. The CTOTF, an independent industry group with ties to the Edison Electric Institute and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), serves owners of generation assets.

State RPSs typically mandate that between 20 and 30 percent of a utility’s kilowatt-hours come from renewable resources by 2020—earlier in some states, later in others. The justification for particular mandates is not well defined and is sometimes politically motivated while the goals often are not supported by objective scientific and engineering research.

For example, to someone with limited experience in the operation of electric power systems, implementing a 20% RPS may not seem like a challenge. However, wind, the nation’s preferred renewable, does not always blow when power is most needed. Without bulk energy storage, utilities typically must dispatch all renewable power as it is generated to meet RPS requirements. At night, the kilowatt-hours from renewables can be as much as 50% of the total energy supplied.

Abrupt changes in load from mandated renewables dictates the need for back-up generation resources, energy from neighbors, load shedding, and/or other immediate solutions to compensate for fluctuations in energy production.

Where fast-start/rapid-ramp assets are optimal for backing up renewables, or at least part of the solution, gas turbines are the likely generation option and the reason CTOTF is hosting this workshop. Goals for the meeting—the first in a series of workshops planned on the subject—include exploring the limitations of existing assets in supporting the RPSs as well as the steps believed necessary to achieve RPS goals. The latter includes possible technology development required, cost, timeframe for implementation, etc.

Visit http://www.ctotf.org/workshop.htm for details and to register.

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