Quantifying the Uncertainty of Energy Creation from Solar and Wind Farms in Different Locations

Quantifying the Uncertainty of Energy Creation from Solar and Wind Farms in Different Locations

Roy L. Nersesian, Kenneth David Strang
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1671-2.ch054
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This paper illustrates how to assess the risk associated with solar and wind farm energy creation by identifying the critical operational factors and then developing multivariate models. The study reveals that a dependence on solar and wind could place consumers at risk of interrupted service given the state of contemporary battery technology. Large scale electricity storage is not currently available which places a contingency risk on electricity generating capacity. More so, maintaining system stability where solar and wind play a significant role in generating electricity is a growing challenge facing utility operators. Therefore, the authors demonstrate how to build a model that quantifies uncertainty by matching uncontrollable supply to uncontrollable demand where a gravity battery may be installed as a buffer. This novel approach generalizes to fossil fuel and nuclear plant operations because demand fluctuations could be managed by storing surplus energy into a gravity battery to meet high peak periods.
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2. Background

Fossil fuel, hydro, nuclear, and geothermal electricity generating plants match controllable output with uncontrollable demand (Kazempour & Moghaddam, 2011). Short term demand for electricity can be estimated with a fair degree of confidence (Somasundaram & Babu, 2012). Generating plants are brought on line or taken off line in anticipation of electricity demand growing in the morning, peaking in the afternoon and early evening, and declining late in the evening. Some generating plants (nuclear and coal) operate at full capacity to satisfy base load demand while others (natural gas and hydro) are ramped up and down in response to changing variable load demand. Hydro in Canada, Norway, Brazil and a host of developing nations and nuclear in France serve both base and variable needs. This paper focuses on how simulation of electricity storage performance can be a planning tool to transform uncertain or uncontrollable supply to reliable and controllable supply.

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