The installed capacity of renewable energy resources - primarily wind and solar photovoltaics (PV) - has been rising steadily in North America over the past 10 years. As wind and solar PV account for a large share of the generation mix, their intermittency and non-dispatchable nature pose challenges for grid operators and electric utilities. Output from these renewable resources can drop - or rise - suddenly, affecting electric power operations by making the balancing of load and generation more difficult to manage and potentially impacting electric system reliability. Electric utilities that operate wind or PV facilities, purchase power from such facilities, or have distributed solar generation within their service territory, have options that can help them mitigate the impacts of variable generation. These options include reducing generation at coal - fired power plants or natural gas - fired combined cycle gas turbines to minimum load or even shutting down the power plants. However, multiple shut - downs and start - ups of both coal - fired and natural gas - fired assets will significantly increase operation and maintenance costs and reduce plant reliability. The future of energy storage for managing rapid ramp ups or ramp downs caused by renewable generation is also evaluated. Another option is to install flexible generating units - reciprocating internal combustion engines (RICE) or aeroderivative gas turbines (ADGTs) - that can provide fast - start backup generating capability to help integrate renewable resources. To evaluate the costs and benefits of fast and flexible generating units, utilities take into account a number of technical and economic factors. Together, these factors constitute a methodology that can be used for decision - making on the value of these generating units.
Wind generation, solar PV generation, renewables integration, fast and flexible generation