Jim Lazar confirms that electric grid managers and utilities can integrate high quantities of variable renewable energy, like solar and wind power, and dramatically reduce carbon emissions by using several existing, and dependable market-proven strategies and technologies in this update to the 2014 “Teaching the Duck to Fly.” The original analysis included ten strategies designed to reduce strain on the grid during daily periods of high renewable energy generation. The strategies, most of which still apply, include such measures as timing the use of energy-intensive equipment to coincide with high renewable energy production. This updated report identifies several new approaches that have proven effective and valuable to utilities already integrating high levels of renewable energy. These include the use of ice storage for air conditioning, controlling water and wastewater pumping, and focusing renewable energy purchases on projects that produce energy when demand is greatest, such as wind farms that peak in late afternoon.
The duck curve describes the new shape of consumer energy demand in markets with high levels of renewable energy. Demand in such markets, which used to peak in the early afternoon, now peaks later in the day, and grids may experience lower demand during the former mid-day peak. The updated strategies continue to enable substantially greater renewable energy integration, better system reliability, and lower costs by modifying the load profiles and better utilizing existing assets.