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Integrating Renewable Energy Resources

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The resources below are offered as part of our Complying with Environmental Regulations Knowledge Management Series. The following papers focus on developing renewable energy resources and integrating those resources on the grid.

  • Dynamic Transfers for Renewable Energy in the Western Interconnection: A dynamic transfer is a coordinated transfer of firm energy between balancing area authorities. This report provides regulators and policymakers with an examination of historical and emerging uses of dynamic transfers. It also describes the distinct role that dynamic transfers play in keeping integration costs down and evaluates how dynamic transfers relate and interact with the intra-hour scheduling and energy imbalance market (EIM) initiatives in the West. The report considers how the location of renewable generation, balancing resources, and transmission affect the benefits offered by the ability to employ dynamic transfers. It concludes with a discussion of priorities for transmission system capital and operational improvements that could alleviate restrictions on the use of dynamic transfers, and recommends metrics that regulators and policymakers can use to track the progress being made by utilities and balancing authorities in the Western states and provinces.
  • Meeting Renewable Energy Targets in the West at Least Cost: The Integration Challenge: This paper explores approaches for reducing costs to integrate wind and solar in the Western US, barriers to adopting these cost-saving measures, and possible state actions. Drawing from existing studies and experience to date, the paper identifies nine ways Western states could reduce integration costs – operational and market tools, as well as flexible demand- and supply‑side resources. The paper provides an overview of these approaches; assesses costs, integration benefits, and level of certainty of these appraisals; and provides estimated timeframes to put these measures in place.
  • Policy Options for Achieving Vermont’s Renewable Energy and Carbon Targets:This report provides an overview of the most promising technologies and policies available to Vermont as it crafts a plan for achieving the goals contained in Act 170 of 2012: 90 percent of the energy consumed across all sectors of the economy in the state will be renewable energy by 2050, and the state will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. Although developed within the Vermont context, the paper is valuable for any jurisdiction considering how to achieve renewable energy or carbon goals.
  • Renewable Resources and Transmission in the West: A Report to the Western Governors: Working with the Western Governors’ Association on the Western Renewable Energy Zones project, RAP conducted interviews with 25 utilities, each western state utility commission, and the Alberta and British Columbia energy ministries about renewable resource planning, procurement, transmission, and other issues. The interviews were conducted to gain insight into how states and provinces could support development of concentrated, high-quality renewable resources for region-wide benefits. This report distills utility and regulator responses, highlights key issues and emerging ideas, and outlines barriers and potential solutions.
  • Clean Energy Standards: State and Federal Policy Options and Implications: This report introduces the concept of a Clean Energy Standard (CES), a type of electricity portfolio standard that sets aggregate targets for the level of clean energy that electric utilities would need to sell while giving electric utilities flexibility by: (1) defining clean energy more broadly than just renewables, and (2) allowing for market-based credit trading to facilitate lower-cost compliance. The report explains how a CES works, describes the benefits that a CES can deliver, and explores federal and subnational options for CES policies. It also explores the nuances of CES policy design and the implications of different design choices.