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Two Papers Document Diverse Approaches to Effective Integration of Variable Renewable Energy

May 1, 2012

Title: Integrating Variable Renewable Energy in Electric Power Markets: Best Practices from International Experience
Authors: Jaquelin Cochran, Lori Bird, Jenny Heeter, and Douglas J. Arent, NREL

Title: Integrating Variable Renewable Energy in Electric Power Markets: Best Practices from International Experience, Summary for Policymakers
Authors: Jaquelin Cochran, Lori Bird, Jenny Heeter, and Douglas J. Arent, NREL

Many countries—reflecting very different geographies, markets, and power systems—are successfully managing high levels of variable renewable energy on the electric grid, including that from wind and solar energy. This study and summary for policymakers document the diverse approaches to effective integration of variable renewable energy among six countries—Australia (South Australia), Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Spain, and the United States (western region-Colorado and Texas)—and summarizes policy best practices that energy ministers and other stakeholders can pursue to ensure that electricity markets and power systems can effectively coevolve with increasing penetrations of variable renewable energy. Each country has crafted its own combination of policies, market designs, and system operations to achieve the system reliability and flexibility needed to successfully integrate renewables. Notwithstanding this diversity, the approaches taken by the countries studied all coalesce around five strategic areas: lead public engagement, particularly for new transmission; coordinate and integrate planning; develop rules for market evolution that enable system flexibility; expand access to diverse resources and geographic footprint of operations; and improve system operations. These reports were jointly produced by NREL, the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis, the Clean Energy Solutions Center, and the Clean Energy Ministerial.

—Jim Leyshon