- The Southwest Power Pool has notched a new record for wind penetration, reaching 39.1% on Sunday, with peak wind output at about 9,000 MW and load around 23,000, Platts reports.
- A previous record was set in November 2015, when wind penetration reached 38.3%.
- Last month, the grid operator in its 2016 Wind Integration Study concluded the region can reliably manage wind penetration levels of up to 60% with the addition of necessary transmission and system tools. Wind was about 14% of SPP capacity at the end of 2015.
Wind capacity in the Southwest is growing, and with some transmission upgrades, can accomodate even more of the intermittent renewable resource. But for now, fossil fuels will remain an integral component, according to the operator's wind integration study.
“SPP operations must ensure that it is prepared for changes that occur in generation output,” according to the study. "At least at present, SPP's fossil fuel plants will be critical for integrating wind reliabily."
While the RTO set a new wind penetration record on Jan. 31, Platts reports that during that period coal still supplied 40% of SPP's power, with nuclear adding 11% and gas about 8%.
The grid operator has 12,380 MW installed wind capacity now, and will likely reach 16,960 MW installed wind capacity by the end of 2016. SPP expects to add at least 2,035 MW more wind in 2017.
SPP also recently released a study called "The Value of Transmission," highlighting fuel savings customers are now seeing as a result of $3.4 billion in transmission investments undertaken between 2012 and 2014. The study looked at the value provided by 348 transmission upgrades and found $240 million in annual benefits in their first year of operation.
SPP predicted $16.6 billion in benefits over the 40-year life of the investments.