Three grid-enhancing technologies can boost the renewable integration in existing transmission systems, according to a study conducted by the Working for Advanced Transmission Technologies (WATT) Coalition.

The grid-enhancing technologies considered are advanced power flow control, topology optimization and dynamic line ratings. Modeling analyses demonstrate that these represent opportunities to more than double the amount of wind to 2.6 GW and solar energy to 40 MW entering interconnection queues just in Kansas and Oklahoma by 2025.

On a national scale, the analysis indicates that such grid-enhancing technologies could deliver carbon emissions reductions of 90 million tons annually, equivalent to taking 20 million cars off the road, and double the amount of renewables that can be integrated prior to building large scale transmission lines.

Power flow control systems redirect power away from overloaded lines and onto underutilized parts of a transmission network. Advanced power flow control accomplishes that task but with hardware delivering the ability to be quickly deployed, easily scaled or redeployed as needed. Topology optimization relies on existing equipment to achieve the same outcome as advanced flow control devices. Software is designed to identify which transmission line circuit breakers should be switched open or closed to route power flow around congested elements. Dynamic line rating determines transmission line thermal ratings based on improved or real-time data, to help system operators determine the prevailing current-carrying capacity limits of transmission lines.

To realize these renewable energy resource contributions, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory is urged to invest in deployment of and create incentives for grid-enhancing technologies and pursue grid modernization policies.

Diverse benefits can be realized with grid-enhanced technologies. Source: WATT Coalition/BrattleDiverse benefits can be realized with grid-enhanced technologies. Source: WATT Coalition/Brattle

To contact the author of this article, email shimmelstein@globalspec.com