Study finds need for increased grid flexibility as electrification grows - Smart Energy Decisions

Distributed Energy Resources, Microgrids  -  March 24, 2020

Study finds need for increased grid flexibility as electrification grows

A new study explores the increased need for flexibility in the power grid as renewable energy growth continues to take off.

The research team at Wood Mackenzie identified five key themes to watch out for in the global grid edge in the coming years: regulatory reform, the evolution of market models, grid edge investment to complement electrification, grid-balancing will increasingly rely on flexible resources and de-risking investments so the DER market can scale. They also expect that the efforts to integrate DERs will create new revenue opportunities via wholesale and distribution value streams over the next decade.

“Today, the US power system alone has more than 50 gigawatts of behind-the-meter flexible resources at its disposal from DERs enrolled in demand response programs,” Research Manager Elta Kolo said in a statement. “Initially, flexible volume will be attained by dynamically leveraging what is already integrated into the grid. Resources already enrolled in existing demand response programs will be the lowest-hanging fruit. Flexibility portfolios will scale with resources situated on either side of the meter.”

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is pushing for mandates that operators assess the economic benefits of ensuring individual resources and aggregations are on an equal footing with traditional system-balancing resources, which Wood Mackenzie believes will shape DER participation in markets more significantly than previous FERC regulations have.

The research team also expects electric vehicles and electric heat to see record growth this decade. They expect a growth of 241,453 MWh of EV power demand in the U.S. by 2030 as EV sales grow to more than 80 million. According to their studies, North America alone could have more than 97.5 GWh of EV battery capacity by the end of the year.

In the U.S., 24 municipalities have taken steps to promote or mandate heating electrification in the last year. Additionally, the widespread adoption of electric vehicles has created a need for microgrids to accompany large-scale fleets.

“Electrification directly creates the need for demand orchestration,” Research Director Ben Kellison said in a statement. “In many cases, local DER deployments will be necessary to manage costs and increase resiliency. Orchestration at the site level will be necessary to meet higher energy and power demands while minimizing the need for grid upgrades. Reliance on electricity for heat and transport also increases the negative impact of outages and major storms, thus compounding the disruptive impact on business continuity – and, more importantly, the risks to human health caused by extended outages, particularly in the winter.”

The full Wood Mackenzie findings can be found here.

Keywords: WoodMackenzie

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