New Model Advances Future Integration of Wind Power in the Smart Grid

Achievement date: 
2013
Outcome/accomplishment: 

Researchers at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UTK) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a computer model to help planners determine the potential contribution of wind energy to the nation’s electric grid. The project is an initiative of the Engineering Research Center for Ultra-wide-area Resilient Electric Energy Transmission Network (CURENT), which is co-funded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy and headquartered at UTK.

Impact/benefits: 

This model is a new tool for the power industry, which uses dynamic models for operation and planning simulations to ensure that the bulk electric system will operate reliably over a wide range of system conditions and contingencies. It was developed as part of CURENT’s efforts to provide methods to integrate the use of renewable resources in our extremely large and complex power grid.

Explanation/Background: 

Perhaps the most important technical challenge facing the electric utility industry over the next several decades is how to address society’s energy needs without heavy reliance on fossil fuels. The electric power transmission infrastructure must be considered in any viable solution, as most economic renewable resources are located far from population centers or have characteristics that make operation on a local basis difficult—e.g., daily cycles that correlate poorly with local demand.

CURENT’s vision is to achieve wide-area coordinated control of the transmission grid, thus enabling the fullest and best use of renewable energy sources. This project was part of CURENT’s modeling thrust to develop system and component models and modeling methodology for analysis, situational awareness, and wide-area control.