Reserve margin may need to rise to 300% by 2040 as more renewables are added to the grid: ISO New England

Reserve margin may need to rise to 300% by 2040 as more renewables are added to the grid: ISO New England

Diving Brief:

  • The reserve margin in the ISO New England system may need to increase from about 15% to 300% by 2040 in some scenarios, as more renewables are added and satisfactory generation retired to meet the state’s clean energy goals, according to a July 29 report from the grid operator. .
  • The ISO Future Network Reliability Study Phase 1 models a variety of decarbonization scenarios in 2040 and concludes that they “may require a significant amount of stored gas or fuel to support the changing resources.”
  • The report found that a scenario in which reliability criteria are met using only solar, wind and storage, would challenge the transmission system and require “a significant amount of land or offshore areas” for wind and solar farms.

Diving Insight:

The addition of new transmission and building loads electrification as part of the deep decarbonization efforts will convert the grid to a peak winter regime and will require changes in planning processes, ISO said.

A deep decarbonization scenario with heavy renewable penetration and a large electrical load results in a zone network transition to a peak winter network, with reliability hours on winter morning before dawn as well as evening. As the region transitions, reliability assessments will have to be conducted on a 12-month basis rather than seasonal assessments, the report said.

The study is the product of a joint effort by ISO, the states of New England and the New England Power Pool, known as the Future Grid Initiative, which represents the future of the region’s energy system based on the state’s climate goals and laws.

In the next step, ISO said it plans to release three supplements later this year to address production cost, additional services and resource adequacy. The second phase of the future grid reliability study will look at the role of wholesale electricity markets.

The study’s deep decarbonization scenario includes the addition of 16 GW of offshore wind, 28 GW of solar, and 600 GW of new battery storage and transmission systems, and is based in part on the assumptions used in the Massachusetts 2050 Deep Decarbonization Roadmap study. In this scenario, heating and transportation make up 20% and 18.6% of the total ISO load, respectively.

A moderate decarbonization scenario, with assumptions based on a 2020 economic study requested by the National Grid, included the retirement of all remaining coal units and some fossil fuel generation, the addition of 8 GW of offshore wind, 2 GW of battery storage, and new transportation. It also assumed that solar energy would increase to 15.8 GW, heating and transportation making up 5.8% and 4.4% of the total load, respectively.

ISO says its study shows how a variety of generation will be needed to reliably meet electricity demand. A modified version of the deep decarbonization scenario using wind, solar, and storage would require only 89,900 MW of these resources.. he is one Currently only 5600 MW.

The report warned that “this scenario would require so much wind and solar energy that it could present significant challenges to the transportation system and would require a significant amount of land or offshore areas to be located and developed for the necessary wind and solar farms.”

Replacing 3,000 megawatts of transmittable units, “which can be achieved through a variety of potentially emission-free technologies,” the report said, would reduce necessary wind, solar and storage capacity by 17,000 megawatts, or 19%.

The report describes those units as “virtual, emission-free, dispatchable resources”.

The New England Grid study “underscores the importance of ensuring that reliability is maintained,” Dan Dolan, president of the New England Generators Association, said in an email. New England’s electricity market must continue to improve [and] Focused on reliability and a permanent platform for continued investments in regional generation resources.”

Failure to invest in generation means that “consumers will absorb greater risks and increased costs over time,” Dolan said.

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