Solar power causes more power plant cycling than wind power

Renewable Impacts said its research of historical California ISO power plant cycling causality indicates that solar power is causing substantially more power plant cycling causality than wind power.

While a 1 percentage point increase in wind energy penetration was found to increase wind cycling causality by 1 percentage point, a similar increase in solar energy penetration was found to increase solar cycling causality by 3 percentage points.

This finding suggests that as California ISO solar penetration grows it will increase power plant wear and tear at California ISO power plants more than a similar increase in wind penetration.

“All indications point to much higher levels of solar generation in the future but this may come at a substantial cost to existing generators and increased system reliability issues.” said James R. Schetter, President of Renewable Impacts.

He added, “Our cycling causality studies of California ISO clearly identify that when compared to wind, solar caused much higher levels of power plant cycling causality. Any planned expansion of renewables should be evaluated for this impact.”

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