Energy Recap: Examining Solar Energy's 'Duck Curve'

Oct.27.17 | About: The United (USO)

SA Editor Michelle Carini

source MIT News


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Welcome to the latest edition of the Energy Recap. This week, we wanted to share an interesting article by Dr. Becca Jones-Albertus that discusses the issue of solar energy over-generation in California. Below is a chart published by the California Independent System Operator that shows what's termed the "duck curve" - "named after its resemblance to a duck, [it] shows the difference in electricity demand and the amount of available solar energy throughout the day."

Source: California Independent System Operator

The author notes that the duck curve is "the first major acknowledgement by a system operator that solar energy is no longer a niche technology and that utilities need to plan for increasing amounts of solar energy." There are a number of challenges associated with the deployment of large-scale solar energy, including supply vs. demand and (as noted above) over-generation of solar power. One of the solutions to the "duck curve" noted by Jones-Albertus is storage technology: "Curtailment isn’t necessary when excess energy can be stored for use during peak electricity demand." Check out this video for more on the use of storage to improve power grid resiliency.

So, what's your take on the "duck curve"? Do you think it's an issue that will expand beyond just California? Please leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.


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