One of the wind community mantras is that the “wind is always blowing somewhere.” Intuitively this suggest that long distance transmission may turn intermittent wind into a constant reliable power source. We agree that geographic dispersion of wind plants reduces wind variability. The question is whether geographic dispersion increases wind system capacity? Does geographic dispersion reduce the need for backup generators?
We addressed this question using the capacity techniques developed in the Wind System Reliability and Capacity Papers. Both MISO and PJM publish hourly wind production data. PJM is the largest independent System Operator in terms of power consumption and MISO is the largest in terms of geographic area. The Long Distance Transmission paper scales PJM and MISO wind data and then combines them, taking careful account of correct time alignment, to see if the combined system would have more capacity than either stand alone system. The answer is yes it does but the difference is small, a fraction of 1%. For practical purposes, the combination of PJM and MISO would have negligible impact on the need for backup generation.