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Wind Power's Impact on Grid Reliability, Backup Supply, and Fossil Fuel Use in New England: A NEWEEP Webinar

Oct. 26, 2010

This is the fourth in a series of free webinars funded by the DOE Wind Powering America initiative. The webinar included a discussion on the impact of wind's variability on power systems and reviewed preliminary results of the New England Wind Integration Study (NEWIS) with a question and answer session. The webinar was designed for attendance by the general public, local officials, facility siting decision-makers, policy-makers, and others interested in a review of objective information on the impacts of wind energy.

Audio and text versions of the webinar are available (WMV 41.2 MB) Download Windows Media Player. Time: 02:35:32. Text Version. A bibliography is also available.


  • Ed DeMeo (PDF 460 KB), Technical Advisor, Utility Wind Integration Group - Wind Power and the Electric Power System Introduction
  • Michael Milligan (PDF 3.3 MB), Ph.D., Principal Analyst, National Wind Technology Center of National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) - Addressed the Impact of Wind's Variability on Power Systems: An Overview of Industry Studies and Results
  • Bill Henson (PDF 3.4 MB), Senior Engineer, Renewable Resource Integration, Independent System Operator of New England (ISO-NE) - Preliminary Results of the New England Wind Integration Study (NEWIS)

Discussion Topics

While wind power produces no emissions, wind power's variability has often been cited as a critical shortcoming, degrading reliability, and increasing the need for 'backup supply' (what the industry refers to as capacity and operating reserves). If fossil-fueled power plants must keep running, will the promised reduction in fossil fuel use and emissions materialize? While the presence of variable generation does create impacts that can and should be accounted for in understanding the costs and benefits of wind power, the nature and magnitude of these impacts are often badly misunderstood. Grid operators are the definitive source for understanding such information, as their mandate is technical neutrality, and their responsibilities include keeping the lights on, defining how much of various types of reserves are necessary, and making sure all costs are paid for. In this webinar, hear what those who operate the grid (throughout the industry, and here in New England) have learned from intensive study of these issues.

  • Addressing wind power's variability:
    • How does wind power impact the reliability of the of the electricity supply?
    • What are the impacts and costs of integrating wind power into the grid?
    • What additional needs for backup capacity and operating reserves are caused by adding wind to the supply mix?
    • How does wind power impact the dispatch, operation and performance of other power plants?
    • How effective is wind power at offsetting fossil fuel use and emissions?
    • What can be done to facilitate integration of wind resources?
  • Overview of Industry Studies and Results on wind's variability on power systems
  • Preliminary Results of the New England Wind Integration Study (NEWIS)