An updated RAP analysis finds water in its many forms is key to controlling the renewable duck curve.
The duck curve graph started with the California Independent System operator, but when Jim Lazar, senior advisor for the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP), put out a paper on how to change the shape of the duck in 2014, there was interest from China to the Middle East to Italy.
The duck curve shows the gap between the total load a utility serves and what that load looks like after a significant amount of wind and solar generation is added on the system. The graphic interpretation of that scenario looks like a sitting duck. The duck is an increasing concern for grid operators worldwide.
The global interest in Lazar’s work shows how utilities are increasingly planning for a future with high penetration of renewables, even if some regions will not get there for many years. In the first edition of the report, Teaching the “Duck” to Fly, Lazar argued that with 10 low-carbon strategies, the duck curve can be flattened out to look more like a flying, rather than a sitting, duck.
In the second edition, there are still 10 strategies, including targeted energy efficiency, rate-design innovation, peak-oriented renewables and more aggressive demand response. But one issue is far more prominent than it was in the first edition: water. For the first time, managing water and wastewater pumping loads has been added as a strategy. Water heating and ice energy also have more prominent roles.
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