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NREL: Solar and Wind Could Provide up to 30% of Electricity on Eastern Power Grid

Through high-performance computing capabilities and innovative visualization tools, the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) determined that the eastern United States could handle even higher penetration levels of wind and solar. The power system models helped researchers discover that the grid in this area could feasibly accommodate solar and wind penetration levels as high as 30%.

The Eastern Renewable Generation Integration Study, funded with support from the SunShot Initiative, looked at hypothetical scenarios on the Eastern Interconnection, a large power system that covers two-thirds of the United States and parts of Canada. By modeling a year’s worth operations on the Eastern Interconnection at 5-minute intervals at the Energy Systems Integration Facility, the team of researchers were able to determine the operational constraints of the grid when it comes to integrating wind and solar.

To achieve this technical potential, the team also determined that increased coordination among grid operators across the Eastern Interconnection, new market designs, and flexible operating procedures will all be needed.

Learn more about the Eastern Renewable Generation Integration Study and the SunShot Initiative systems integration program.

Distribution channels: Energy