Intermittent Resource Program for Wind Power

Wind energy in California reached a new milestone this week when the largest wind farm in the state was officially dedicated in the Montezuma Hills of Solano County. Owned by Florida Power and Light, the 162-megawatt High Winds Energy Center is also the newest participant in the California Independent System Operator (ISO) Participating Intermittent Resource Program. The program allows clean, renewable wind energy to be more compatible with ISO grid operations.

Folsom, California – October 6, 2003 [] More than 300 MW of clean renewable wind power are enrolled in the program with some 200 MW more expected by the end of the year. The program is helping California reach its Renewables Portfolio Standard goal of 20 percent renewable energy by the year 2017. The Program relies on the latest forecasting and communications technology to make wind power a more efficient resource. “Our grid operators need to know how much power each generator will deliver to the grid,” said Randy Abernathy, ISO Vice President of Market Services. “Wind turbines produce more or less energy depending on how hard the wind blows, and due to the whims of Mother Nature, it’s difficult to predict how much energy to expect a day ahead of time when most of our energy scheduling takes place.” The solution is to use the most accurate on-site forecasting technology available and high-tech telemetry and communication equipment to transmit the forecast information directly to the ISO. The ISO uses a very recent forecast -a couple of hours old at most- to schedule the energy from wind farms into the ISO system about an hour ahead of time “We’re getting accurate forecast information in time to make it useful,” said Abernathy. “We are also allowing wind generators to “net out” any deviations from their schedules over a whole month. So if the actual energy output is more or less than what was scheduled, they can still usually avoid deviation penalties because the differences tend to even out over the course of a month.” The California ISO is a not-for-profit public benefit corporation charged with managing the flow of electricity along California’s open-market wholesale power grid. The mission of the California ISO is to safeguard the reliable delivery of electricity, and ensure equal access to more than 25,000 circuit miles of “electron highway”. As the impartial operator of the wholesale power grid in the state, the California ISO conducts a small portion of the bulk power markets. These markets are used to allocate space on the transmission lines, maintain operating reserves and match supply with demand in real time.
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