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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), CAISO, Avangrid, and General Electric recently demonstrated the capability of large utility-scale wind plants to provide essential reliability services to the electricity grid. The testing, partially funded by DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office, was conducted in late 2019 over several days at Avangrid’s 131-megawatt Tule Wind Farm east of San Diego.

The testing covered a range of the wind plant’s capability to provide frequency and voltage support, including ramping, regulation up and down following CAISO’s dispatch signals, primary frequency response, and reactive power and voltage control even when wind is not blowing.

The resulting CAISO report concludes that many existing wind plants have the necessary hardware to provide the full suite of essential grid services, provided some simple changes in how they operate are made.