Variance Analysis of Wind and Natural Gas Generation under Different Market Structures: Some Observations

Brian Bush

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Does large scale penetration of renewable generation such as wind and solar power pose economic and operational burdens on the electricity system? A number of studies have pointed to the potential benefits of renewable generation as a hedge against the volatility and potential escalation of fossil fuel prices. Research also suggests that the lack of correlation of renewable energy costs withfossil fuel prices means that adding large amounts of wind or solar generation may also reduce the volatility of system-wide electricity costs. Such variance reduction of system costs may be of significant value to consumers due to risk aversion. The analysis in this report recognizes that the potential value of risk mitigation associated with wind generation and natural gas generation maydepend on whether one considers the consumer's perspective or the investor's perspective and whether the market is regulated or deregulated. We analyze the risk and return trade-offs for wind and natural gas generation for deregulated markets based on hourly prices and load over a 10-year period using historical data in the PJM Interconnection (PJM) from 1999 to 2008. Similar analysis is thensimulated and evaluated for regulated markets under certain assumptions.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages50
StatePublished - 2012

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-52790


  • deregulated markets
  • regulated markets
  • risk mitigation
  • solar energy
  • variance analysis
  • wind energy


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