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A Preliminary Analysis and Case Study of Transmission Constraints and Wind Energy in the West

A 17-page paper on the Rocky Mountain region’s wind energy potential. The Rocky Mountain region has been identified as possessing some of the most attractive wind resources in the western United States. Wind developers typically need long-term transmission service to finance their projects; however, most of the capacity on several key paths is reserved by existing firm contracts. Because non-firm contracts are only offered for periods up to 1 year, obtaining financing for the wind project is generally not possible when firm capacity is unavailable. However, sufficient capacity may exist on the constrained paths for new wind projects that can risk curtailment for a small number of hours of the year. This paper presents the results of a study sponsored by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), a work group participant in the Rocky Mountain Area Transmission Study (RMATS). Using recent historical power flow data, case studies were conducted on the constrained paths between Wyoming-Colorado (TOT3) and Montana-Northwest, coinciding with areas of exceptional wind resources. The potential curtailment frequency for hypothetical 100-MW and 500-MW wind plants was calculated using hourly wind data. Although the high-level approach of the study cannot specifically define amounts of generation that can be added to these paths, it does present a new approach to identifying the potential for improved utilization of existing transmission assets. The results from the study also indicate that sufficient potential exists for innovative transmission products that can help bring more wind to load centers and increase the efficiency of the existing transmission network.

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Date Of Record Release 2010-11-11 19:16:17
Description A 17-page paper on the Rocky Mountain region’s wind energy potential. The Rocky Mountain region has been identified as possessing some of the most attractive wind resources in the western United States. Wind developers typically need long-term transmission service to finance their projects; however, most of the capacity on several key paths is reserved by existing firm contracts. Because non-firm contracts are only offered for periods up to 1 year, obtaining financing for the wind project is generally not possible when firm capacity is unavailable. However, sufficient capacity may exist on the constrained paths for new wind projects that can risk curtailment for a small number of hours of the year. This paper presents the results of a study sponsored by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), a work group participant in the Rocky Mountain Area Transmission Study (RMATS). Using recent historical power flow data, case studies were conducted on the constrained paths between Wyoming-Colorado (TOT3) and Montana-Northwest, coinciding with areas of exceptional wind resources. The potential curtailment frequency for hypothetical 100-MW and 500-MW wind plants was calculated using hourly wind data. Although the high-level approach of the study cannot specifically define amounts of generation that can be added to these paths, it does present a new approach to identifying the potential for improved utilization of existing transmission assets. The results from the study also indicate that sufficient potential exists for innovative transmission products that can help bring more wind to load centers and increase the efficiency of the existing transmission network.
Classification
Resource Type
Format
Subject
Source National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
Keyword Wind energy
Selector Selection Committee
Date Of Record Creation 2010-11-11 19:03:56
Education Level
Date Last Modified 2010-11-11 19:16:17
Creator Milligan, M. & Berger, D.P
Language English
Date Record Checked: 2010-11-11 00:00:00 (W3C-DTF)

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