The integration of wind power in the U.S. electricity grid

A survey conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) studied impacts on the grid of an increased penetration of power produced by wind farms.

The Eastern Wind Integration & Transmission Study, which took two years to finish – was focused on the Eastern Interconnect, the power grid that currently serves about 70% of the US population.

Besides analyzing wind energy resources currently available and those planned for the future, the study showed the best operational practices to be followed and considered several options that can be enacted for transmission.

The NREL found that in 2024, 20 percent of the overall grid-injected power could be produced from wind turbines. But in order to manage such a deep penetration, the grid must be upgraded and adjusted.

According to the NREL, regardless of the types of wind farms that are built and the options adopted for the location of new wind energy, the U.S. network can already manage a significant amount of wind power, though the penetration rate is substantially lower than the 20% assumed in the study.