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Teaching the “Duck” to Fly

Teaching the “Duck” to Fly

Full Title: Teaching the “Duck” to Fly
Author(s): Jim Lazar
Publisher(s): Regulatory Assistance Project
Publication Date: February 1, 2016
Full Text: Download Resource
Description (excerpt):

The electric sector has become very sensitive to the load shape of emerging utility requirements as increasing penetration of wind and solar energy creates challenging “ramping” issues for conventional generation in the morning and evening, as renewable energy supplies wax and wane. Fundamentally, this issue is no different from the problem utilities have addressed for over a century: adapting the supply of energy to match changing consumer demand. The difference is that daily and seasonal usage patterns and the resources that have historically served that pattern have evolved gradually over the last 125 years, whereas the renewable energy revolution is creating new challenges in a much shorter period of time. Addressing this problem will require a change in the way utility power supply portfolios are formulated, but solutions are at hand. Fortunately, we have technologies available to us that our great-grandparents did not. Previously, the utility’s role was to procure a least-cost mix of baseload, intermediate, and peaking power plants to serve a predictable load shape. Today, utilities have to balance a combination of variable generation power sources, both central and distributed, together with dispatchable power sources, to meet a load that will be subject to influence and control through a combination of policies, pricing options, and programmatic offerings. This now includes the capability to dispatch customer loads, including water heating, air conditioning, and water
pumping, strategies at the heart of this paper.

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