Weekly publication highlight – 11.03.15



This series of four reports is based on the first-year technical collaboration between the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the China National Renewable Energy Center along with other key research institutes in China, and the Danish Energy Agency, under the Boosting Renewable Energy program funded by Children’s Investment Fund Foundation.

  1. Blair, Nate, Ella Zhou, Dan Getman, and Douglas J. Arent. (2015) Electricity Capacity Expansion Modeling, Analysis, and Visualization: A Summary of Selected High-Renewable Modeling Experiences. Golden, CO: NREL
    Download it here

Electric grid modeling is complicated by the magnitude, complexity, time scales, and uncertainty of many underlying characteristics. This report addresses in detail NREL’s approach to several key questions that arise when modeling future capacity expansion with significant levels of renewable energy. These key questions involve topics such as technical costs and performance, modeling of key grid operational issues, scenario modeling including regionality, and visualization.

  1. Lowder, Travis, Paul Schwabe, Ella Zhou, and Douglas J. Arent. (2015)Historical and Current U.S. Strategies for Boosting Distributed Generation. Golden, CO: NREL.
    Download it here

This report describes a variety of top-down and bottom-up practices that, in concert with the macro-environment of cost reduction globally and early adoption in Europe, helped boost the distributed generation photovoltaic (DGPV) market in the United States. Section 3 of the report summarizes federal and state policy and regulatory support for DGPV, and Section 4 analyzes business and financing innovations in DGPV, including shared solar, third-party ownership, securitization, and yieldcos.

  1. Hurlbut, David, Ella Zhou, Kevin Porter, and Douglas J. Arent. (2015)‘Renewable-Friendly’ Grid Development Strategies: Experience in the United States, Potential Lessons for China. Golden, CO: NREL.
    Download it here

This report provides a concise summary of experience in the United States with “renewable-friendly” grid development and management, and analyzes three market models – vertically integrated monopoly utility, regional transmission organizations, and zonal model. It focuses on some of the key issues related to integrating utility-scale renewable energy, including capital cost recovery for conventional generation; the use of renewable resource forecasting in grid operations; managing the new demands on ancillary services; grid planning and the use of renewable energy zones; and mitigating the operational causes of renewable curtailment.

  1. Milligan, Michael, Bethany Frew, Ella Zhou, and Douglas J. Arent. (2015)Advancing System Flexibility for High Penetration Renewable Integration. Golden, CO: NREL.
    Download it here

This report provides an overview of the current system planning process employed in the United States. It discusses the process for assessing the overall system’s need for flexibility, and then focuses on analyzing several potential sources of flexibility–physical and institutional–that can help maintain system balance with high levels of variable generation. The key options discussed include larger balancing areas, access to neighboring markets, fast energy markets, improved market design, demand response, strategic renewable energy curtailment, new ancillary service products, flexible conventional generation units, and storage. The report also provides a high-level cost-benefit analysis of the options as well as lessons from experience for consideration by power system planners and decision makers.