These four categories of renewablesbring different issues to the gridand have different levels of gridfriendliness. The location of theconnection and the ability to producepower on demand makes thedifference in how friendly they are.
The S-Cent and the V-Cent are bothconnected to the transmission gridand have the ability to take advantageof the traditional control systems andmonitoring. The existing SCADAsystems and protection schemes arecapable of supporting both of thesetypes of generation. S-Cent is sosimilar to conventional generationthat it offers few or no issues inintegration into the grid. Since itis so simple to integrate, where thefuels are available and economicallyviable, it should be considered as thefirst choice in deployment. In mostcases, the economic model for S-Centmatches that of conventional fossilgeneration. A sample of the facilitiesthat fit into this include:Large wood-fired power plants1.Garbage and post consumer waste2.incineratorsLandfill gas generation facilities3.Pumped hydro facilities4.Large hydro facilities5.Run of the river current farms.6.These facilities offer very fewchallenges from a grid managementpoint of view, but they do offerother challenges for site approvaland operations. In some areas,incinerators that were installed onlya few years ago are being shutdownbecause of protests by people who livenear the facility.One very clean garbage incineratorin a major city has been shut downafter only 8 years of operation becausepeople living in the area did notThe regulators are coming, theregulators are coming and they aregoing to force changes in our industry.With political requirements to reducecarbon, deal with global warming,be greener, allow local participationin the power grid, and try to managethe cost of energy, regulators arechanging the requirements for whatis allowed on the grid. Renewablegeneration is the buzz word todayand regulators do not want to be leftbehind. In the US, more than 30states now have renewable portfoliostandards—mandatory percentages of power that have to be produced anddelivered from renewable sources byspecific dates. In some cases, the RPSrequirements kick in as soon as 2010,in others the first real requirement isin 2025. But in any case, in the US,the state requirements will requirethat an additional 1 percent of thetotal electric power consumed inthe US be produced by renewablesources each year. In Europe, triple20 will force a similar requirement.The manufacturers of renewablegeneration devices are all runningat full capacity and increasing thatcapacity. GE Energy will doublewindmill production in 2008, againin 2009 and yet again in 2010 andthey are completely sold out until2012. Other manufacturers are ina similar situation and the type of renewable generation they producedoes not matter. Incentives andsubsidies, rather than real economics,are driving the sales, as well asregulatory requirements.This installation of renewables willnot be without problems. None areimpossible to deal with, but someare very expensive to deal with andothers just take time and energy.Renewables will have an impact onthe whole utility value chain and howit operates. No utility is exempt, andit does not matter if the market isfully regulated or fully de-regulated,there will be an impact. In some casesit is an engineering issue, in othersit is a people issue. No generationwill be installed and operate withoutfacing some issues and problems.To really look at the impact of renewable sources on the electric grid,you need to separate the renewablesinto several categories. In thisdocument, we have made a simplisticseparation into the following categories:
Schedulable central station1.generation (S-Cent)
– Thisincludes biomass and otheralternative fuels that can be usedin place of fossil fuels, and existingfossil fuel plants may be able to beretrofitted to consume them. Forinstance, wood chips replacingcoal, ethanol replacing oil, orbiogas replacing natural gas.
Variable Central Station2.Generation (V-Cent)
– Wind farmsare the best known examples of thisclass of asset and are the mostwidely deployed renewablegeneration sources today producingelectricity. Large solar and wavepower installations also fit into thiscategory. The assumption is thatV-Cent would be connected to thetransmission (high voltage) network.
Schedulable Distributed3.Generation (S-Dist)
– This issmall scale generation that usesrenewable fuels; normally, thegeneration facilities would befound on farms, in businesses andin homes. One good examplewould be wood-fired combinedheat and power. The expectationwould be that the generation canbe turned on and off as needed.
Variable Distributed Generation4.(V-Dist)
– This is the category thatmost environmentalists meanwhen they discuss the nextgeneration of the electric network.Solar Cells on a homeowner’s roof,or a small windmill in thebackyard or barnyard.