When it comes to the impact of renewable energy sources on grid stability, flexibility is the key. But this, like many things in life, is easier said than done. You see, an increased number of renewable energy sources feeding the grid could negatively impact reliability. This is especially true in certain states, such as California, which plans to have half of its electricity provided by clean energy by the year 2030.
How Renewable Energy Sources Impact the Grid
Because renewables involve the provision of energy from a variety of sources, each of which has a different operational cost structure, pricing flexibility is necessary. This would require, ideally, the development of a new market system.
Another potential impact is lack of storage capability. This matters because renewable energy cannot be produced in a predetermined manner, as it relies on weather and other considerations that are beyond the control of grid operators. So excess renewable energy needs to be either stored, shared, or bundled with traditional sources, or else it will simply go to waste.
Another issue is the transmission system’s limited capacity – simply put, renewable energy sources provide new supply which, when aggregated with traditional sources, could exceed the grid’s ability to handle the load which could subsequently create bottlenecks. This makes the development of new and/or improved transmission systems necessary.
The bottom line is that the impending influx of additional renewable energy sources presents many operational challenges for grid operators that, if not solved, could reduce grid stability. Obviously, this would not be ideal from an emergency preparedness perspective, so the countdown is on to develop appropriate solutions. Check out this article for an overview of what some U.S. grid operators are doing to prepare for this influx of clean energy.