New York Grid Ready for More Wind Power

The report, Growing Wind: NYISO 2010 Wind Generation Study, looks at expanding wind power from the existing 1,275 megawatts (MW) to 8,000 MW by 2018.

The new analysis was undertaken because a previous study, done in 2004, analyzed only 3,300 MW of wind generation. There are now more than 7,000 MW of proposed wind farm projects that have been submitted to the NYISO for potential interconnection to the New York power grid.

Wind turbines generation presents challenges to system operators due to the variability of output, and the fact that wind energy tends to increase much later in the day when power use is declining and decline in the morning when power use is increasing.

The study found that any operational requirements associated with integrating sufficient wind turbines generation could be addressed, paving the way for the fulfillment of New York State’s goal of having 30 percent of the state’s electricity supplied by renewable resources by 2015.

“Wind power is a vital component of New York State’s renewable energy strategy. This study provides a much clearer picture of the benefits consumers can see as a result of continued wind development,” said Stephen Whitley, NYISO president and CEO.

A significant increase in wind power would bring a number of benefits. Under the 8,000 MW scenario, the added renewable generation would lower total energy production costs and significantly decrease the emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon dioxide (CO2), and other pollutants.

Focusing on the technical and operation issues associated with the addition of such a large amount of wind power, the study found that transmission upgrades and additional regulation service would be required. Regulation is the moment-to-moment balancing of load with changes in generation. The cost of the additional regulation service was not estimated by the study. Complementary energy storage technologies, such as batteries and flywheels, are being developed to supplement existing regulation service providers.

To accommodate wind generation reliably, the NYISO has implemented innovative measures such as a wind dispatch system based on bids of individual generators and a wind forecasting mechanism that uses wind speed and wind direction data collected by interconnected wind resources in New York, and other meteorological data, to forecast the amount of energy expected to be produced by wind resources over various time frames.

The NYISO has also implemented pioneering changes in market design to integrate new energy storage resources.