A Solved Problem: Existing Measures Provide Low-cost Wind and Solar Integration

Synapse Energy Economics / byPatrick Luckow,Tommy Vitolo and Joseph Daniel

Synapse conducted a literature review of wind and solar integration cost studies and found costs commonly less than $5 per megawatt-hour. Synapse found that despite differences in the types of systems across the country—some composed of much more inflexible coal or nuclear generation than others—costs across systems appear to follow similar bands. Integration costs represent the cost of measures to help meet the incremental needs of the system as more renewable energy is brought online, typically in the operational timeframe. Measures to address these needs include improved coordination between neighboring system operators, increased geographic diversity of wind and solar installations, transmission reinforcements, and demand-side solutions such as demand response and time-of-use pricing. System planners should still conduct their own focused studies on how they will manage renewable resources, but the Synapse review suggests there is no need to put the brakes on further development, as these costs tend to be quite small.

In addition to the report, Synapse prepared a two-page brief on the challenges, solutions, and costs of integrating renewable energy. “Remodeling the Grid: Challenges, Solutions, and Costs Associated with Integrating Renewable Resources


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