A paper authored by Brattle consultants on the challenges associated with renewable energy integration has been published in the March 2012 report, “Managing Large-Scale Penetration of Intermittent Renewables,” issued by MIT’s Energy Initiative. The Brattle paper, “Policy Challenges Associated with Renewable Energy Integration,” was authored by Brattle principals Judy Chang, Peter Fox-Penner, Philip Hanser, and associate Kamen Madjarov.

The paper finds that based on research and experience, high levels of variable renewable energy sources can be safely and reliably integrated into modern power systems. According to the authors, the primary policy challenges with integrating renewables are cost causation and allocation. The costs associated with integration include a greater need for overall regulation and resources, cost penalties on traditional incumbent generators, and enhanced forecasting and more complex operating procedures for system operators. The MIT report is comprised of proceedings and papers from a symposium of the same title held in April 2011. The program explored how renewable energy standards affect power system capacity planning and operations, with the assumption that affordable, scalable electricity storage options will not be accessible within the next 10 years. Participants of the symposium discussed the issues, opportunities, and challenges associated with managing intermittent renewables, including the flexible operation of thermal power plants, economic impacts of flexible generation, the transmission grid and system operations, and intermittent renewable generation policies and regulations. The report highlights the major discussion points and outlines potential next steps for the consideration of policy makers.

For more information, please visit the MIT Energy Initiative website.

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