Purpa Research Paper

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The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) is a set of policies passed in the year of 1978. The purpose of PURPA is to encourage the conservation and efficient use of energy resources as well as other new energy sources that can be used to replace the use of oil and gas in power plants, which is inefficient compared to other newly developed energy sources. PURPA also requires electric utilities to purchase electric energy from “small power production facilities”, that is, any qualified generating facilities whose main energy source is categorized as clean and renewable, with an installed capability less than 80 million Watts. (FERC,2016) This policy encouraged people to consider installing a solar panel system in their roof…show more content…
First of all, solar power is not a reliable nor predictable energy source. The amount of electrical energy generated by solar panels in a large area depend on the weather. For example, during a cloudy day, the whole Lafayette area would be cloudy, which means all solar panels in the entire area won’t work. If solar energy is a significant source for the area, the power company has to dispatch energy from other areas to fill the deficit caused by the unavailability of solar panels. Usually dispatching involves more than one area, since people must collect enough excess power to compensate the deficit. This is called the propagation of disturbance in a power grid, which means, a fault or dispatch action in one area will quickly spread to the entire system, causing many unexpected behaviors and make the controls much more complex. Every minute the weather in the whole country is changing, causing some areas receive more solar energy than average, some receive less. Since the entire US power gird is connected (it also expands to most parts of Canada) and every “small power production facility”, which PURPA encourages, is a source of disturbance and spam the entire grid in a short time, the grid would be messy and unpredictable. The power grid is the largest and most complex nonlinear system that human ever built, it is already very hard to model and control, adding more disturbance from solar panels will only make it even harder to control. In fact, people already can’t analyze the behavior of the power grid, the actual behavior of most components in the system is always different from model
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