Integrating Renewable Generation into Grid Operations: Four International Experiences

Lori Bird, M.R. Weimar, M.E. Mylrea, T. Levin, A. Botterud, Eric OShaughnessy

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


International experiences with power sector restructuring and the resultant impacts on bulk power grid operations and planning may provide insight into policy questions for the evolving United States power grid as the electric power systems around the world are responding to a multitude of factors including changing resource mixes and fuel prices, an aging generation fleet with potentially large retirements of baseload generation and numerous policies designed to meet climate goals. Australia, Germany, Japan and the UK were selected to represent a range in the attributes of electricity industry liberalization in order to draw comparisons across a variety of regions in the United States such as California, ERCOT, the Southwest Power Pool and the Southeast Reliability Region. The study draws conclusions through a literature review of the four case study countries with regards to the changing resource mix and the electricity industry sector structure and their impact on grid operations and planning. This paper derives lessons learned and synthesizes implications for the United States based on the challenges faced by the four selected countries. Each country was examined to determine the challenges to their bulk power sector based on their changing resource mix, market structure, policies driving the changing resource mix, and policies driving restructuring. Each country's approach to solving those challenges was examined, as well as how each country's market structure either exacerbated or mitigated the approaches to solving the challenges to their bulk power grid operations and planning. All countries' policies encourage renewable energy generation. To date, relatively high levels of variable renewable generation have been incorporated with few challenges. However, one significant finding included the Low/zero fuel cost of variable renewables and its potential negative impact on long-term resource adequacy. No dominant solution has emerged although a capacity market was introduced in the UK and is being contemplated in Japan. Germany has proposed the Energy Market 2.0 to encourage flexible generation investment. In Australia interconnections to other regions provide added opportunities for balancing that would not be available otherwise, and at this point, has allowed for integration of renewables.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages116
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Available at

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-68448

Other Report Number

  • PNNL-25331


  • policy analysis
  • power grid operations
  • power sector restructuring
  • systems analysis


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