The following slides provide information about integrating wind energy into the electricity grid.

Wind Energy Integration

Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL 25907

Wind energy currently contributes significant power to energy portfolios around the world.

*U.S. Department of Energy. (August 2015). 2014 Wind Technologies Market Report.

Wind Energy Integration

In 2014, Denmark led the way with wind power supplying roughly 39% of the country’s electricity demand. Ireland, Portugal, and Spain provided more than 20% of their electricity needs from wind.*

Iowa and South Dakota topped the U.S. market with more than 25% wind energy production in 2014.

*U.S. Department of Energy. (August 2015). 2014 Wind Technologies Market Report.

Wind Energy Integration

Seven additional states are producing more than 12% of their energy needs with wind.*

Grid reliability remains high with increased wind production.

Wind Energy Integration

Electric power systems in regions with high wind power contributions have operated reliably without added storage and with little or no increase in generation reserves.*

*American Wind Energy Association. (2014). AWEA U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report, Year Ending 2013.

During severe weather events, wind energy has capacity to increase system reliability.

Photo from Flickr

Wind Energy Integration

During a February 2011 cold weather spell that disabled 152 power plants in Texas (primarily coal and natural gas), wind generation produced approximately 3,500 megawatts of output, helping to avert power outages.*

*Union of Concerned Scientists. (April 2013).
"Renewables: Energy You Can Count On. Ramping Up Renewables."

Maximum wind integration limits have yet to be reached.

Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL 31737

Wind Energy Integration

For example, in May 2014, Colorado’s grid operators successfully managed an hourly contribution from wind up to 60%.*

*American Wind Energy Association. (2014). AWEA U.S. Wind Industry Fourth Quarter 2013 Market Report.

Improvements in wind forecasting tools and wind technology help with the grid integration of wind power.

Wind Energy Integration

In May 2014, wind energy in Xcel Energy’s Upper Midwest territory met 46% of customers' electricity needs.* In March of the same year, wind energy had an instantaneous contribution of 38.4% on the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) system.**

*North American Windpower. (May 2, 2014). "Xcel Energy Breaks Wind Power Record In Upper Midwest."
**American Wind Energy Association. (2014). AWEA U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report, Year Ending 2013.

Utility integration of wind requires minimal additional reserves from traditional fuel sources.

Photo from NRG Energy, NREL 16094

Wind Energy Integration

ERCOT determined that the incremental reserve required for nearly 10 gigawatts of wind energy on its system translated into an additional monetary value of $0.50/megawatt-hour of wind, or an increase of approximately 6 cents per month on a typical Texas household's $140 monthly electric bill.*

*U.S. Department of Energy. (2015). Wind Vision: A New Era for Wind Power in the United States.

Photo from Minnesota Power, NREL 16051

Wind Energy Integration

Similarly, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), which serves the U.S. Midwest and Manitoba, Canada, reported that more than 12 gigawatts of wind generation on its system has little to no effect on its reserve needs.*

*Navid, N. "Managing Flexibility in MISO Markets." Electric Utility Consultants Inc. Workshop, April 2013.

Increasing wind power production decreases fuel consumption.

Wind Energy Integration

Large amounts of wind can be integrated without major infrastructure upgrades to traditional power systems while reducing fuel consumption, resulting in fuel cost savings that outweigh increased cycling costs.*

*National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Western Wind and Solar Integration Study Phase 2.

Cycling refers to traditional power systems: shutting down, restarting, ramping up/down, and operating at part load.

Decreasing fuel consumption results in fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

Wind Energy Integration

Billions of pounds of carbon dioxide are prevented from entering our atmosphere when we replace traditional fuel-powered energy systems with wind — another benefit of integrating wind into the national energy portfolio.*

The increase in plant emissions from cycling to accommodate variable renewables is more than offset by the overall reduction in CO₂, NOₓ, and SO₂.

*National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Western Wind and Solar Integration Study Phase 2 .

For more details about wind energy integration, visit the WINDExchange website or the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Transmission Grid Integration pages.

Photo by First Wind, NREL 16737

Wind Energy Integration