Executive Summary: Concentrating Solar Power Impact on Grid Reliability

Brian Hodge, Nicholas Miller, Slobodan Pajic, Kara Clark

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


This study examines the impact of concentrating solar power (CSP) on grid reliability by investigating the dynamic behavior of the Western Interconnection under conditions of high solar and wind generation. Reliability in this case refers to the somewhat narrow context of stability: transient stability and frequency response; and control stability, especially that associated with weak grids. The objectives of this study were to identify renewable energy penetration levels and mixes, severe disturbances, and load conditions where grid performance and reliability could be enhanced with CSP plants. Instantaneous penetrations of wind and solar - both photovoltaics (PV) and CSP - up to approximately 60% were considered. The focus is on situations in the Western Interconnection bulk power system during which variable renewable generation has displaced other (non-CSP) synchronous thermal generation under highly stressed, weak system conditions. Particular attention was given to impacts of frequency-responsive controls and synchronous generation characteristics.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages18
StatePublished - 2018

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5D00-70782


  • concentrating solar power
  • CSP
  • grid reliability
  • high solar
  • high wind
  • penetration
  • renewable energy
  • Western Interconnection


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