Co-location of Wind and Solar Power Plants and Their Integration onto the US Power Grid
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A number of research and development groups and several renewable project operators have examined combining wind power production with on-site solar power production. Past research has been devoted to small, off-grid applications only. In the absence of actually building a utility-scale project, short time scale (5 minutes) estimates of combined power production are difficult to simulate due to the lack of hub-height wind data combined with on-site solar insolation data available in similar time scales. This presentation will present hub-height, high-fidelity, wind data from the Texas Tech University's 200-meter meteorological tower combined with a co-located solar pyranometer to estimate short-term (5-minute) power production data. Recent reduced costs associated with solar-PV may make this option more attractive in the future. This analysis addresses fixed-plate, single- and dual-axis PV arrays. This presentation also includes an plant-level and grid-level economic analysis of a wind-only, solar-only, and combined wind-solar power plant. Over the past few years, renewable energy has entered the electrical grid at an exponential rate. To reduce the uncertainties for the grid operator and wind power plants owner/operators, "firm" production has a direct impact on the power purchase agreements (PPA's). Since wind power is traditionally best at night and solar power is only during the day, by combining their synergies, uncertainty is reduced and higher PPA's are possible. This analysis will present economic estimates of the ability of plant operators to secure higher purchase prices for power by raising the "firm" production level and reducing risk.