Alternatives No More: Wind and Solar Power Are Mainstays of a Clean, Reliable, Affordable Grid

Michael Milligan, Bethany Frew, Paul Denholm, Brendan Kirby, Matt Schuerger, Debra Lew, Bob Zavadil, Mark O’Malley, Bruce Tsuchida, Kara Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus Citations


Wind and PV generation have emerged as mainstream energy resources that have increasing economic competitiveness in many power systems around the world. With increased deployment, there is also a more fundamental understanding of VG's characteristics, impacts, and benefits. The traditional "old" model of VG , shown in Table 1, has been replaced by a "new" model based on detailed operational simulation as well as years of real-world experience in systems throughout North America and Europe. This more mature approach to assessing the impacts and benefits of VG recognizes the ongoing challenges to integration at increased penetration levels. VG increases the net variability and uncertainty on the system, and therefore more creativity and flexibility is required to maintain reliable operation. In response, system operators and planners have discovered and developed a larger set of flexibility options both in methods to operate existing grid assets and to deploy new technology options. On the generation side, these options range from reexamining historical operating practices for operating traditional thermal generation to exploiting advanced capabilities of VG itself. On the demand side, new markets may tap significant flexibility from dispatchable loads. Developing these flexibility resources in the most cost-effective manner requires ongoing assessments of the various options. With proper incentives and market designs, all flexibility options, including provisions of multiple flexibility services from wind and solar, can be deployed to minimize the overall costs of a clean, reliable power system.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number7299793
Pages (from-to)78-87
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Power and Energy Magazine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 IEEE.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5D00-64698


  • Automatic generation control
  • Photovoltaics
  • Power system stability
  • Renewable energy sources
  • Solar energy
  • Wind power generation
  • Wind turbines


Dive into the research topics of 'Alternatives No More: Wind and Solar Power Are Mainstays of a Clean, Reliable, Affordable Grid'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this