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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Challenges to the Integration of Renewable Resources at High System Penetration


Successfully integrating renewable resources into the electric grid at penetration levels to meet a 33 percent Renewables Portfolio Standard for California presents diverse technical and organizational challenges. This report characterizes these challenges by coordinating problems in time and space, balancing electric power on a range of scales from microseconds to decades and from individual homes to hundreds of miles. Crucial research needs were identified related to grid operation, standards and procedures, system design and analysis, and incentives, and public engagement in each scale of analysis. Performing this coordination on more refined scales of time and space independent of any particular technology, is defined as a “smart grid.” “Smart” coordination of the grid should mitigate technical difficulties associated with intermittent and distributed generation, support grid stability and reliability, and maximize benefits to California ratepayers by using the most economic technologies, design and operating approaches.

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