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Home | Seminars and Symposia | Past seminars/symposia: Tuesday, October 5, 2010

DTC Leading Edge Seminar Series

Integrating Renewable Energy into the North American Power Grid: Realities, Challenges and Opportunities


Mark Ahlstrom

Tuesday, October 5, 2010
3:30 p.m. reception
4:00 p.m. seminar

401/402 Walter Library

Mark Ahlstrom

The large-scale integration of wind and solar energy into the power grid poses serious challenges. To maintain reliability and stability of the power system, the amount of generation must be kept closely matched to the currently required load. The forecast of load, while not perfect, can usually be kept to within a few percent of actual power required. Forecasting of the instantaneous power that will be delivered from wind and solar plants is much more challenging. This presentation will provide an understanding of challenges and realities of integrating variable renewable resources, looking both at the role of weather forecasting and the future changes we will need in the operation of our power systems. The author has been personally involved in numerous wind integration studies and is a frequent speaker and participant with the Utility Wind Integration Group, IEEE, NERC, DOE and the American Wind Energy Association.


Mark has been the CEO of WindLogics since December of 2000. Under his leadership, the company became an authority in the assessment, forecasting, operations and integration of renewable energy. WindLogics became a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources (formerly FPL Energy) in 2006, allowing it to expand its role as an applied R&D center and provider of services to utility, wind and solar energy clients. Prior to joining WindLogics, Mark was founder of two software technology companies. He holds degrees in Biochemistry and Biomedical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.