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Wind and Solar Resource Droughts in California Highlight the Benefits of Long-Term Storage and Integration with the Western Interconnect

Rinaldi, Katherine Z. and Dowling, Jacqueline A. and Ruggles, Tyler H. and Caldeira, Ken and Lewis, Nathan S. (2021) Wind and Solar Resource Droughts in California Highlight the Benefits of Long-Term Storage and Integration with the Western Interconnect. Environmental Science and Technology, 55 (9). pp. 6214-6226. ISSN 0013-936X. doi:10.1021/acs.est.0c07848. https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20210407-082224233

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Abstract

As reliance on wind and solar power for electricity generation increases, so does the importance of understanding how variability in these resources affects the feasible, cost-effective ways of supplying energy services. We use hourly weather data over multiple decades and historical electricity demand data to analyze the gaps between wind and solar supply and electricity demand for California (CA) and the Western Interconnect (WECC). We quantify the occurrence of resource droughts when the daily power from each resource was less than half of the 39-year daily mean for that day of the year. Averaged over 39 years, CA experienced 6.6 days of solar and 48 days of wind drought per year, compared to 0.41 and 19 for WECC. Using a macro-scale electricity model, we evaluate the potential for both long-term storage and more geographically diverse generation resources to minimize system costs. For wind-solar-battery electricity systems, meeting California demand with WECC generation resources reduces the cost by 9% compared to constraining resources entirely to California. Adding long-duration storage lowers system costs by 21% when treating California as an island. This data-driven analysis quantifies rare weather-related events and provides an understanding that can be used to inform stakeholders in future electricity systems.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.0c07848DOIArticle
ORCID:
AuthorORCID
Rinaldi, Katherine Z.0000-0002-0746-2852
Dowling, Jacqueline A.0000-0001-5642-8960
Ruggles, Tyler H.0000-0002-6643-2047
Caldeira, Ken0000-0002-4591-643X
Lewis, Nathan S.0000-0001-5245-0538
Additional Information:© 2021 American Chemical Society. Received: November 19, 2020; Revised: March 19, 2021; Accepted: March 19, 2021; Published: April 6, 2021. This work was supported by fellowships at Caltech from SoCalGas in support of Low Carbon Energy Science and Policy, and by a gift from Gates Ventures LLC to the Carnegie Institution for Science. The authors thank Lei Duan and David J. Farnham for providing wind, solar, and demand input data. The authors declare no competing financial interest.
Funders:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
CaltechUNSPECIFIED
Southern California Gas CompanyUNSPECIFIED
Gates Ventures LLCUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:California electricity system, variable renewable energy, zero-carbon electricity, macro-energy model, wind energy, solar energy, interannual variability
Issue or Number:9
DOI:10.1021/acs.est.0c07848
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210407-082224233
Persistent URL:https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20210407-082224233
Official Citation:Wind and Solar Resource Droughts in California Highlight the Benefits of Long-Term Storage and Integration with the Western Interconnect. Katherine Z. Rinaldi, Jacqueline A. Dowling, Tyler H. Ruggles, Ken Caldeira, and Nathan S. Lewis. Environmental Science & Technology 2021 55 (9), 6214-6226; DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.0c07848
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:108642
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:08 Apr 2021 22:29
Last Modified:05 May 2021 19:43

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