Thursday, November 15, 2012

Congressional Research Service Report Released: U.S. Renewable Electricity: How Does Wind Generation Impact Competitive Power Markets?

The Congressional Research Service (CRS), the public policy research arm of Congress, just issued the report U.S. Renewable Electricity: How Does Wind Generation Impact Competitive Power Markets? (Nov. 7, 2012). The 27-page report authored by Phillip Brown, 
analyzes the impacts of wind generation on competitive power markets, including financial and economic impacts on electric power generators. Overall, the goal of this report is to provide context for several electricity market concepts that are relevant to understanding the economic effects of wind power generation. Additionally, this report addresses three specific questions about the market interaction of wind power and electric power generators: (1) How might wind power affect wholesale market clearing prices? (2) Does wind power contribute to negative wholesale power price events within competitive electric power markets? and (3) Does wind power impact electric system reliability? This report focuses on data and information available for competitive electricity markets that are managed by a regional transmission operator (RTO) or independent system operator (ISO). Specific information for three RTO/ISO organizations is provided in this report: (1) Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO), PJM, and (3) Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). These three RTOs were selected for the analysis in an effort to limit the scope of this report. Furthermore, these RTOs are commonly cited as markets that are being affected by wind power generation. As a result, there is no discussion of wind power market impacts within cost-of-service, vertically integrated electricity markets that are common in the West and Southeast regions of the United States, nor is there any discussion of how wind power is managed by federally owned transmission system operators such as the Bonneville Power Administration.

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