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The Value of Diversifying Uncertain Renewable Generation through the Transmission System
Over the past two years, the U.S. has seen a significant increase in renewable generation and the number of states targeting net-zero CO2 emissions. Achieving these policies will require the integration of unprecedented amounts of additional renewable generating capacity. The transmission grid has a central role to play in this transition, and expanding the grid can provide substantial value by reducing the overall costs of integrating these resources.

Quantifying this transmission-related value potential, however, is challenging. It requires analytical approaches that capture the benefits of transmission for accessing low-cost renewable generation and unlocking geographic diversity of renewable generation to manage its variability and uncertainty.

Drawing on the results of a newly published BU Institute for Sustainable Energy case study, the authors will discuss the transmission grid’s value for lowering the cost of integrating renewable generation through geographic diversification. Based on key findings, for renewable generation levels from 10% to 60% of annual energy consumption, interconnecting two power market sub-regions with different wind regimes through transmission investments can reduce annual production costs by between 2% and 23% and annual renewable curtailments by 45% to 90%. The study also documents the importance of considering day-ahead forecasting uncertainty and real-time variability in quantifying this value. Read study: bu.edu/ise/variablerenewables

Moderator: Peter Fox-Penner, ISE Director

Discussant: Rob Gramlich, Founder & President, Grid Strategies LLC

Report Authors:
Johannes Pfeifenberger, ISE Senior Fellow, Principal, The Brattle Group

Pablo Ruiz, ISE Affiliated Faculty, Senior Consultant, The Brattle Group

Kai Van Horn, Principal Analyst, National Grid USA

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