Wind, Solar Make Grid Stronger And Power Cheaper
National laboratories issue study on growing flexibility and variability of power generators; Lawrence Berkeley and Argonne National Laboratories examine the growth of solar, wind and natural gas power plant operations on wholesale power markets and the impact on nuclear and coal generators.
Mark Burger, December 5, 2017 (PV Magazine)
“…The growth of solar and wind power has highlighted the issue of negative pricing on the wholesale markets, where in some instances the availability of wind or solar power depresses prices to the point where wholesalers pay their utility customers to take the electricity off their hands. This situation has led to accusations that solar and wind power are ‘unfairly’ making market conditions difficult for fossil fuel and nuclear power plants…[Impacts of Variable Renewable Energy [VRE] on Bulk Power System Assets, Pricing, and Costs] acknowledges the growth of VRE, but indicates that the primary factor has been the growth of natural gas power plants, especially those that are able to operate on a flexible basis. Wind and solar power are at present secondary causes, while grabbing the headlines. Also noted is that nuclear and fossil fuel power plants account for the bulk of negative pricing by their inability to reduce, adjust or cease operations when demand decreases, even without the presence of significant solar and/or wind power…[Also, negative pricing is still relatively rare. What is happening, however, is overall downward pressure occurring on wholesale electric prices due to the entry of primarily [low cost] natural gas and, to a lesser extent, [low cost] wind and solar power…” click here for more