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This paper discusses the key issues that confront power system planners and operators when integrating wind power plants into the electric power system. A key question is how the variations in wind plant outputs affect the operation of the power system on a daily basis and what the associated costs are. These costs are lower than initially expected by some utility engineers. The main reason for this is that wind tends to behave more like negative load than traditional firm-block generation, and the power system has been designed to handle significant load variations on a routine basis. This paper summarizes the key results of wind integration studies conducted to date and provides insights from individual studies. The studies present simulations of system operations that employ well-established production-costing and unit-commitment computational tools.
Date of Publication: Nov.-Dec. 2005