- Adding wind and solar to the electric grid affects the operation of other power plants and can induce the cycling of fossil-fueled generators, which leads to wear and tear costs that cause premature component failure, as well as changes in facility emission rates.
- The study found that up to 33% of wind and solar penetration increases annual cycling costs of power the average fossil fueled plant by $0.47 - $1.28/MWh, compared to $27 - $28/MWh in variable operations and maintenance costs.
- The study also found that 33% of wind and solar penetration increases cycling costs, from the perspective of wind and solar, by $0.14 - $0.67/MWh compared to fuel cost reductions of $28 - $29/MWh.
- The average fossil fueled plant wind and solar induced induced cycling can have a positive or negative impact on CO2, NOx, and SO2 rates depending on the mix and penetrations of wind and solar.
- The study found that 33% wind and solar energy penetration in the United States’ portion of the Western grid avoids 29% - 34% carbon dioxide emissions, 16% - 22% nitrogen oxides, and 14% - 24% sulfur dioxide emissions through out the western grid. Cycling had very little impact on the CO2, NOx, and SOs emission reductions from wind and solar.