Date of Award

6-2012

Degree Name

MS in Electrical Engineering

Department

Electrical Engineering

Advisor

Dr. Ahmad Nafisi

Abstract

As renewable energy becomes increasingly cost competitive and Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) push states to produce more and more of their steadily growing power demands from renewable sources, the need to solve the problems associated with renewable penetration becomes a priority. The intermittent nature of solar and wind power generation require additional cost that inhibit their implementation as penetration levels grow. Reliability remains power utilities' top priority while they struggle to upgrade their systems. Old generation facilities will be decommissioned, renewable energy projects will come on line and transmission upgrades become inevitable. Variability on the grid is currently mitigated through the use of Operational Reserves. These units are costly and utilities are currently looking for ways to reduce the amount of reserves required. Balancing Area cooperation is currently being considered by many as the most economical and environmentally conscience method to mitigate variability. Many aspects of Balancing Area cooperation will be discussed along with the motivations for their implementation.

A 22.5 square mile area of land in Clovis, NM will be the home of the Tres Amigas project designed to unite the three asynchronous grids of our Nation with the purpose of improving reliability and reducing cost through the exchange of power and ancillary services such as VAR support and Operating Reserves. This paper will investigate the implications of this project on the Operational Reserves required to mitigate variability due to increasing renewable energy penetration by enabling Balancing Areas to cooperate across regions that are currently not assessable.

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