Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Electrical Engineering

First Advisor

Paul Hines


As the technology behind renewable energy sources becomes more advanced and cost-effective, these sources have become an ever-increasing portion of the generation portfolios of power systems across the country. While the shift away from non-renewable resources is generally considered beneficial, the fact remains that intermittent renewable sources present special challenges associated with their unique operating characteristics. Because of the high variability of intermittent renewables, the frequency performance of the system to which they are connected can degrade. Generators assigned to regulate frequency, keeping it close to the desired 60 Hz, are forced to ramp up and down quickly in order to offset the rise and fall of the variable resources (in addition to the rise and fall of load), causing transient frequency deviations, power swings, major interface transfer variations and other significant issues.

This research measures the impact of intermittent renewable resource penetration level on power system frequency performance, and offers methods for managing that performance. Currently, the generally accepted amount of regulation (rapidly-dispatchable reserve, used as a supplement to base generation on a short time scale to avoid performance issues) is 1% of peak load. Because of the high variability associated with intermittent renewables, including wind generation (the focus of this thesis), it is expected that this amount of regulation must increase in order to maintain adequate system frequency performance. Thus, the primary objective of this thesis is to quantify the amount of regulation necessary to maintain adequate frequency performance as a function of the penetration level of wind generation.

Presently, balancing resource requirements are computed, in both industry and in the research literature, using static models, which rely entirely on statistical manipulation of net load, failing to capture the intricacies of dynamic system and generator interactions. Using a dynamic model with high temporal resolution data, instead of these statistical models, this thesis confirms the need for additional regulation as wind generation penetration increases. But beyond that, our research demonstrates an exponentially increasing relationship between necessary regulation and wind generation percentage, indicating that, without further technological breakthroughs, there is a practical limit to the amount of wind generation that a typical system can accommodate. Furthermore, we compare our dynamic model results with those of the statistical models, and show that the majority of current statistical models substantially under-predict the necessary amount of regulation to accommodate significant amounts of wind generation. Finally, we verify that the ramping capability of the regulating generators impacts the amount of necessary regulation, although it is generally ignored in current analysis and related literature.



Number of Pages

70 p.