Boosting the Value of Wind and Solar in Wholesale Power Markets

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As wind and solar deployment grows, wholesale power prices will by necessity adjust to the new realities of weather- and location- dependent, low marginal-cost generation. Changes in the temporal and geographic patterns of prices are expected. Importantly, these pricing changes hold implications for the merchant ‘market value’ of wind and solar in wholesale energy and capacity markets, with a general expectation that that value will decline as renewable penetrations increase. Given the potential for grid-system ‘value deflation’ as variable renewable energy increases, this talk will summarize research by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that is assessing ways of enhancing the wholesale market value of wind and solar. Options that will be quantitatively evaluated include: hybridization of wind and solar with storage, larger rotors and taller towers for wind, higher inverter-loading ratios for photovoltaics as well as optimized orientation and tracking, participation in ancillary services markets, and power plant siting in locations with relatively higher wholesale prices. The analysis will be based on an assessment of the potential value of these options in existing wholesale markets, and will demonstrate practical means of boosting grid-system value as well as the relative magnitude of the value enhancement that might be possible with each technique.

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