Historically, we’ve thought about curtailment as a waste of valuable clean electricity — a financial penalty for renewable generators that need to monetize every last electron.

It’s already an issue today. California has so much solar power that in certain months it is dialing back tens of thousands of megawatt-hours of PV generation. It’s happening in other states, to a lesser degree. As a result, people are increasingly focused on storage.

But our perception of curtailment is changing. New modeling suggests that overbuilding wind and solar is actually the most economic solution for achieving high levels of renewables — not necessarily relying on storage.

So, how should we think about curtailment? Is it a liability for generators and grid operators or a tool for cleaning up the grid?

Recommended reading:

  • L.A. Times: California Has Too Much Solar Power. That Might Be Good for Ratepayers
  • GreenBiz: A Radical Idea to Get a High-Renewable Electric Grid
  • Clean Power Research: Curtailment of Low-Cost Renewables a Cost-Effective Alternative to Seasonal Storage

Support for this podcast comes from PG&E. Did you know that 20 percent of EV drivers in the U.S. are in PG&E’s service area in Northern California? PG&E is helping to electrify corporate fleet vehicles. Get in touch with PG&E’s EV specialists to find out how you can take your transportation fleet electric.

We're also sponsored by Wunder Capital. Wunder Capital is the leading commercial solar financing company in the United States. Click here to find out how Wunder Capital can help you finance your next commercial solar project.

Subscribe to The Interchange podcast via Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsStitcherSpotify or wherever you find your audio content. Or integrate our RSS feed into the app of your choice.