DOE study details how grid-enhancing technologies can prevent renewables curtailment

There is ample opportunity for GETs to support existing grid infrastructure, according to the DOE. Image: C-Crete Technologies.

Grid-enhancing technologies (GETs) could be cost-beneficial in avoiding renewables curtailment while reducing the need for significant investment in new infrastructure projects, research from the US Department of Energy (DOE) has revealed.

GETs can provide benefits in a future system heavily reliant upon variable renewable energy, particularly in bridging the gap between today’s infrastructure and the grid needed to support ambitious climate goals, according to the report.

This article requires Premium SubscriptionBasic (FREE) Subscription

Unlock unlimited access for 12 whole months of distinctive global analysis

Photovoltaics International is now included.

  • Regular insight and analysis of the industry’s biggest developments
  • In-depth interviews with the industry’s leading figures
  • Unlimited digital access to the PV Tech Power journal catalogue
  • Unlimited digital access to the Photovoltaics International journal catalogue
  • Access to more than 1,000 technical papers
  • Discounts on Solar Media’s portfolio of events, in-person and virtual

Or continue reading this article for free

Titled ‘Grid-Enhancing Technologies: A Case Study on Ratepayer Impact’, the report found there is ample opportunity for GETs to support existing grid infrastructure and alleviate existing transmission constraints, as well as future constraints from expected shifts in power supply and demand.

The research focuses on two GETs: dynamic line rating (DLR), hardware and/or software that updates the calculated thermal limits of transmission lines based on weather conditions; and power flow controllers (PFCs), hardware and software used to push or pull power, helping to balance overloaded lines and underutilised corridors within the transmission network.

Featuring a case study focused on the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) service area – which continues to incur high costs associated with congested transmission lines, according to the DOE – the report found that DLR and PFC could enable system operators to reduce transmission congestion.

NYISO was chosen because it already has wind curtailments despite low overall penetration, high congestion costs and large proposals for new transmission and renewables resources.

To integrate the large amounts of solar and wind needed to reach New York’s 70% renewables goal by 2030, significant transmission investment is required, however the use of GETs and other enabling technology can help facilitate this transition by making better use of existing transmission lines and potentially deferring traditional transmission upgrades, according to the report.

It said blanketing the NYISO system with DLR could provide more accurate situational awareness and efficiency, potentially resulting in US$1.7 million in avoided curtailed energy value over the year. Combining DLR with PFCs and a new substation to increase transmission efficiencies could result in the savings of energy valued at US$9.1 million.

Significant PV curtailment has been seen in the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) region as more large-scale and rooftop solar installations come online. According to the US Energy Information Administration, CAISO curtailed 1.5 million MWh of utility-scale solar in 2020, or 5% of its total utility-scale solar production.

The DOE research found that while traditional grid upgrades yield higher curtailment reductions, they are also more expensive to deploy. The report reads: “As a result, GETs deployment that reduces some, but not all, curtailment may be a more cost-effective method to integrate new generation in this area while providing more overall system flexibility.”

With gaps in public knowledge with respect to GETs leading utilities to established, known solutions, the DOE said a taskforce should be charged with providing industry with the data needed for fair GETs consideration to ameliorate the perceived risk of the modern technologies.

As well as calling for more training for planning engineers and grid operators so they are versed in new approaches, the DOE recommended that GETs should be evaluated as a candidate technology in resource and transmission planning and directly compared against traditional technologies.

Such recommendations are intended to transition GETs from promising potential capabilities to a practicable solution set utilised throughout the industry to improve the power system.

Findings from the research will support the Building a Better Grid Initiative, which was launched by the DOE earlier this year and aims to catalyse the development of new transmission lines and increase access to clean energy.

8 October 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA
PV Tech has been running an annual PV CellTech Conference since 2016. PV CellTech USA, on 8-9 October 2024 is our second PV CellTech conference dedicated to the U.S. manufacturing sector. The event in 2023 was a sell out success and 2024 will once again gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing in the U.S. out to 2030 and beyond.

Read Next

May 23, 2024
How VPPs could help reduce solar PV curtailment in California, while also helping financially to install a solar array and storage.
May 21, 2024
US renewable energy company RWE Clean Energy has acquired 400MW of Solar PV and 199MW of standalone battery energy storage system (BESS) assets from Galehead Development.
May 20, 2024
The US Department of Energy (DOE) will invest US$71 million into specific solar manufacturing projects across the value chain.
May 8, 2024
For the second year in a row, solar PV outpaced wind in global electricity growth generation in 2023, according to energy think tank Ember.
May 2, 2024
The US Department of Energy' SETO has launched an up to US$20 million funding opportunity through the 2024 Photovoltaics Research and Development.
April 30, 2024
With more than 1TW of solar waiting for grid connection, PV Tech Premium looks at where the PV capacity is queued up in the US.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
May 29, 2024
11am (EDT) / 5pm (CEST)
Solar Media Events
June 4, 2024
London, UK
Upcoming Webinars
June 11, 2024
3:00 PM (BST) / 4:00 PM (CEST)
Solar Media Events
July 2, 2024
Athens, Greece