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?
- 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
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