Curtailment and Cost Effective Renewable Energy Integration

Curtailment and Cost Effective Renewable Energy Integration

As renewable energy adoption increases in the market place, the term “curtailment” has become commonplace in the vernacular of those in the Solar & Wind energy markets. Curtailment refers to the involuntary reduction in power generation forcing the generating source to produce less power than it otherwise would have with its available resource. Renewable energy curtailment levels in North America is generally around 4% or less.

Curtailment can arises due to a number of factors:

  1. Transmission congestion
  2. Lack of transmission access
  3. Compliance to system management requirements or energy mix goals
  4. Requirement to maintain supply-demand balance; ensure grid safety and reliability

Transmission constraints is the one of the most common reason for renewable energy curtailment in North America. Lack of transmission access can results from shortfalls or time lags in interconnect infrastructure development i.e. when access infrastructure fails to keep up with generation capacity. In addition, extraneous events either natural or man-made can result in intermittent transmission access failure forcing curtailment.

Minimal interconnection standards pertinent to wholesale markets are insufficient when used as a criteria for curtailment assessment since they address connectivity i.e. access and not real carrying capacity under different use case scenarios. This can particularly be an issue for wind generation sources that are often clustered in geographic area often leading to local congestions. Compliance to system management requirements and local policy to meet energy mix goals management may also drive curtailment.

Supply demand imbalance often force curtailment when load periods are low and supply is high (i.e. over-generation). In such scenarios, the economics of available curtailment source options often tilts the balance in favor of renewable energy curtailment. Curtailment has always been on the radar of asset owners and managers owing to its impact on revenue of renewable energy project. Depending on the geography and market structure several methods like downward dispatch or financial provisions for curtailment contingencies are adopted to reduce the economic impact of curtailment to generating entities.

If you are looking for an integration partner to support your curtailment needs, come talk to us! POUNDRA can design and implement control systems that perform curtailment using advanced grid support features of modern inverters.  Curtailment can be activated to address local plant production needs and/or in response to secure external curtailment commands. In addition, POUNDRA can also modify existing plant control or SCADA systems to add curtailment features using secure remote gateways and integrate with utility SCADA  to implement remote curtailment functionality.

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