RESEARCH
December 29, 2008

Grid can handle renewables

Contrary to conventional wisdom, generating most of California's electricity from renewable sources will have a minimal impact on the grid.

A simulation of electricity generation and transmission in California shows that replacing most of the natural gas with wind and solar power increases the load on transmission lines by an average of 0.5 percent. Under this scenario, 70 percent or more of California's electricity would be generated by renewable sources.

The number of overloaded transmission lines would rise from 11 to 31 out of more than 5,000, suggesting that only a small portion of the transmission lines would need to be updated to accommodate a radical shift to renewable energy sources.

Research paper:
Power Flow Simulations of a More Renewable California Grid Utilizing Wind and Solar Insolation Forecasting
American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting 2008, San Francisco, December 15-19, 2008

Researchers' homepages:
Elaine Hart
Mark Z. Jacobson
Mike Dvorak

Related stories and briefs:
NSF funding to put brain cells on grid control -- related research
Island scheme minimizes grid outages -- related research
Wind powered electric vehicles top study -- recent work by same researcher


Back to ERN December 29, 2008/January 5, 2009

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