The current energy grid in the United States is dominated by carbon intense energy generation methods that are based on production when and where it is required. However, solar and wind power have proved themselves as the most promising carbon free energy generation sources. Due to the unpredictable and uncontrollable nature of energy production from solar and wind, large scale integration of these resources into the electric grid will require robust storage capacity. In this project, we model the energy grid of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) energy region with high concentrations of solar and wind power to analyze the impacts on storage, over-generation, base load and cost. Historical load data was taken from the MISO region, while solar and wind data was from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Solar and Wind Integration Data Sets, all for the year 2007. Our findings show that the necessary storage capacity is significantly reduced when there is over-generation of energy, either from solar and wind or base load. Despite this, due to the falling price of solar, wind and storage technologies, the most cost efficient means of shifting to a carbon neutral energy grid is through the over-generation of wind, solar and storage, without base load.

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