Effects of aggregating electric load in the United States
This study quantifies the effects of aggregating electric load over various combinations (Aggregation Groupings) of the 10 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regions in the contiguous U.S. Generator capacity capital cost savings, load energy shift operating cost savings, reserve requirement cost savings, and transmission costs due to aggregation were calculated for each Aggregation Grouping. Eight scenarios of Aggregation Groupings over the U.S. were formed to estimate overall system cost. Transmission costs outweighed cost savings due to aggregation for all scenarios and nearly all Aggregation Groupings. East–west transmission layouts had the highest overall cost, and interconnecting ERCOT to adjacent FERC Regions resulted in increased costs, both due to limited existing transmission capacity. This study found little economic benefit of aggregating electric load alone (e.g., without aggregating renewable generators simultaneously), except in the West and Northwest U.S. If aggregation of load alone is desired, small, regional consolidations yield the lowest overall cost. This study neither examines nor precludes benefits of interconnecting geographically-dispersed renewable generators with load. It also does not consider effects from sub-hourly load variability, fuel diversity and price uncertainty, energy price differences due to congestion, or uncertainty due to forecasting errors; thus, results are valid only for the assumptions made.
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