The three major problematic conditions affecting grid management that are exemplified by the duck curve are:
- Creation of steep ramps due to system operators needing to rapidly increase or lower energy generation in order to meet demand over a short period of time. This requires a flexible energy resource to quickly respond to spikes in demand and adjust energy production accordingly.
- The risk of oversupply when peak midday solar production exceeds demand, potentially requiring curtailment, reducing both its economic and environmental benefits.
- Decreased frequency response capabilities due to the management of such oversupply, caused by fewer energy resources being available to automatically adjust generation to maintain grid reliability. Ie. as renewables deliver more energy (and do not typically have automated frequency response capability), conventional energy resources (which are typically capable of providing frequency response) are displaced. The grid therefore suffers reduced reliability and is increasingly subject to disruptions. In order to mitigate the risk, the grid needs access to automated frequency response systems that can automatically ramp up or down when sudden interruptions are incurred.
Recent advances in the energy storage market could allow storage technologies to help alleviate, and potentially eliminate conditions created by the duck curve. There is also extensive research to help utilities, grid operators and solar plant owners to better predict and understand generation patterns to maximise distributed resources.
In this podcast we will be exploring the various technological adaptations helping grid operators manage the challenges of the duck curve.