Integrating Variable Renewable Energy in Electric Power Markets

Best Practices from International Experience, Summary for Policymakers

Authors are: Jaquelin Cochran, Lori Bird, Jenny Heeter, and Douglas J. Arent

Many countries—reflecting very different geographies, markets, and power systems—are successfully managing high levels of variable renewable energy on the electric grid, including that from wind and solar energy. This document summarizes policy best practices that energy ministers and other stakeholders can pursue to ensure that electricity markets and power systems can effectively coevolve with increasing penetrations of variable renewable energy. There is no one-size-fits-all approach; each country studied has crafted its own combination of policies, market designs, and system operations to achieve the system reliability and flexibility needed to successfully integrate renewables. Notwithstanding this diversity, the approaches taken by the countries studied all coalesce around five strategic areas: lead public engagement, particularly for new transmission; coordinate and integrate planning; develop rules for market evolution that enable system flexibility; expand access to diverse resources and geographic footprint of operations; and improve system operations. This study also emphatically underscores the value of countries sharing their experiences. The more diverse and robust the experience base from which a country can draw, the more likely that it will be able to implement an appropriate, optimized, and system-wide approach.


National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

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