Teaching the Duck to Fly – Second Edition Adds Insight to Load Challenges Facing Utilities  

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, available, and dependable market-proven strategies and technologies, according to a new report released today by the Regulatory Assistance Project. The report, Teaching the Duck to Fly – Second Edition, is an update to a 2014 analysis that shows how grid managers can address the so-called “duck curve” caused by high penetrations of solar and wind power.

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.

“This new and improved edition of Teaching the Duck to Fly confirms that the duck curve is not the problem some say it is,” said Jim Lazar, author and RAP senior advisor. “And 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.”

The 2014 analysis includes 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.

The 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.

Download the full report here.

Contact: Jake Brown