Less money, more stability -- Wind integration

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Compelling evidence is emerging from the Greek islands that high levels of wind power supply are leading to savings in both cost and carbon emissions. Wind power on Crete -- where wind provides 10% of electricity -- is saving 2% of heavy oil used in base load units and 15% of diesel oil, compared with running an all thermal system, according to report by the National Technical University of Athens and the Greek Public Power Corporation. The report, Security and Economic Impacts of High Wind Power Penetration in Island Systems, was funded by the EU.

The total installed generating capacity on Crete consists of 490 MW of thermal plant and 67 MW of wind. On the Greek islands, maximum consumer demand occurs in the peak summer months of July and August, which coincides with maximum wind energy production. Maximum instantaneous wind energy penetration has been about 30% -- in December.

The overall monetary savings of operating wind power on Crete instead of relying on thermal generation are between 1.5 and 3%. The project also concludes that the wind plant benefit grid stability -- helping to stabilise grid frequency, without the need for large amounts of additional spinning reserve. The researchers anticipate achieving even better security and economic benefits through the installation of advanced control software.

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