For marine and hydrokinetic technologies to play a larger role in supplying the nation's energy needs, integration into the U.S. power grid is an important challenge to address. Efficient integration of variable power resources like water power is a critical part of the deployment planning and commercialization process. Variable and weather-dependent resources can create operational concerns for grid operators. These concerns include conventional generation ramping, load/generation balancing, and planning for reserves. NREL has conducted extensive in-depth wind and solar integration studies that have succeeded in addressing many of these concerns for the wind and solar industries. Much of what they have learned will prove useful to the water power industry.
NREL's Systems Integration team collaborates with utility industry partners and provides data, analysis, modeling, and techniques to increase utility understanding of the issues related to integrating variable resources.