A July 2017 report, "Integrating High Levels of Variable Renewable Energy into Electric Power Systems," provides insights and recent examples of ways major strides are being made to increase our ability to reliably dispatch ever-higher percentages of variable generation from wind, solar, and other Distributed Energy Resources (DERs).
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) report was written by the Director of NREL’s Power Systems Engineering Center, Benjamin Kroposki, Ph.D., PE, FIEEE.
Kroposki provides an update on the current state of integration capabilities associated with utilization of variable renewable energy (VRE), and highlights accomplishments associated with current power systems operating with VRE, and related challenges, solutions, and future research needs associated with increasing the percentage of VRE being dispatched.
The report also compares various electric systems based on overall capacity and relative percentage of VRE, since it is much more meaningful to see the two in context rather than in isolation from one another.
Related detailed results are provided from the recent Western Wind and Solar Integration Study, as well as Eastern Renewable Generation Integration Study, both of which demonstrated that achievement of 30% VRE is possible with minimal system changes. The author then address what we need to do to reach levels of wind and solar integration above 50%. Finally, an assessment is provided of the additional power systems research one could expect will be required in order to achieve 100% VRE in the future.
The NREL presentation regarding these results is at this link.