The goal of NREL's transmission integration research is to tackle the challenges of integrating renewables and other technologies into the bulk-power system while maintaining safe, efficient, and cost-effective grids.
NREL works with electric utilities, energy policymakers, and other industry partners to integrate large-scale renewable energy into the transmission system. Researchers study transmission and grid integration issues and provide data, analysis, and models to enable the electric power system to more efficiently manage the variability of renewables such as solar and wind power.
Wind and solar energy offer environmental benefits, low operating costs, and reduced dependence on foreign fuel. However, wind and solar generation vary with wind speed and solar insolation. This variability affects how transmission systems with high penetrations of renewable energy sources operate. NREL researchers are identifying these effects and finding solutions to address them to enable transmission grid integration.
Power systems simulation – Expertise in large grid integration studies, such as production cost and dynamic modeling and simulation of large power systems
Transmission system planning – Expertise in the planning of transmission-level power systems
Transmission and distribution system co-simulation – Expertise in the co-simulation of combined transmission and distribution systems to gauge the impact of distributed energy resources on the bulk system and how bulk system operations impact distributed energy resources
The largest-ever simulation of the electric grid using the power of high-performance computing.
Exploring whether we can integrate large amounts of wind and solar into the U.S. western electric grid.
Studying the effects of high penetrations of renewables on Hawaiian island grids.
Advancing System Flexibility for High Penetration Renewable Integration, NREL Technical Report (2015)
Review and Status of Wind Integration and Transmission in the United States: Key Issues and Lessons Learned, NREL Technical Report (2015)