At the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC), partners can study the interactions between wind power technologies and the utility grid to gain a greater understanding of how variable generation resources such as wind energy, impact the utility grid and how to increase the percentage of wind generation in our nation's energy portfolio. NREL's grid integration analysts also work with the U.S. Department of Energy, university researchers, independent system operators, and regional transmission organizations to provide the system characterization data and models that empower electric power system operators to more efficiently manage wind grid system integration.
Grid integration: At the NWTC, researchers work with wind developers and electricity suppliers, using a range of methods, tools, and analyses to further the understanding of the economic and operational effects of wind generation on the electric supply system.
Resource characterization, forecasting, and maps: NREL researchers use solar and wind resource assessment and forecasting to develop models that better characterize the potential benefits and impacts of variable generation on electric power system operations.
Technology development: Energy systems integration research and development at NREL is concentrated in the areas of transmission, distribution, and resource assessment and forecasting. The collaboration of a diverse set of stakeholders is critical to the success of this effort in order to tackle big energy challenges.
Controllable Grid Interface: NREL's controllable grid interface test system provides system engineers with a better understanding of how wind turbines react to disturbances on the electric power system.
Energy System Integration Facility: NREL's ESIF houses 15 experimental laboratories and several outdoor test beds, including an interactive hardware in the loop system that lets researchers and manufacturers test their products at full power and gird load levels.
Active Power Control: NREL has teamed with the Electric Power Research Institute, the Colorado School of Mines, the University of Colorado, and other industry members to research the potential of wind turbines and power plants to provide active power control to the electric power system.
Western Wind and Solar Integration Study (WWSIS): The WWSIS, one of the largest regional solar and wind integration studies to date, investigated whether it was possible to integrate large amounts of wind and solar energy into the electric power system of the West.
Eastern Renewable Generation Integration Study (ERGIS): ERGIS is a follow-on study to several wind integration studies that showed that the variability and uncertainty of wind and solar power at high penetration levels require new ways of planning and operating electric power systems.
Oahu Wind Integration and Transmission Study: The goal of the Oahu Wind Integration and Transmission Study was to help stakeholders understand the costs and operating impacts of significant amounts of wind power on their island grids.
California-Wyoming Grid Integration Study: NREL conducted a study that determined the economic benefit of transmitting wind energy from Wyoming to the California energy market would likely exceed the cost.