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About UVIG

The Utility Variable-Generation Integration Group, previously known as the Utility Wind Integration Group (UWIG), was established in 1989 to provide a forum for the critical analysis of wind and solar technology for utility applications and to serve as a source of credible information on the status of wind and solar technology and deployment.  The group’s mission is to accelerate the development and application of good engineering and operational practices supporting the appropriate integration and reliable operation of variable generation on the electric power system.

What's Going on at UVIG?

Did You Know – Renewable Plant Model Validation - It's getting serious now

Large renewable generating facilities – especially wind and solar – have been full-fledged citizens of the bulk electric system (BES) in the U.S. for almost two decades now.  The process toward achieving this status has been steady but full of challenges. The initial hurdles of characterizing and then capturing the steady-state and dynamic behavior of renewable plants in models for the computer tools used to analyze the BES were overcome (it appears) with major support from UVIG and its members.  While work will be ongoing this area – as is the case for all equipment comprising the BES – the industry is at a point where renewable plant technology is no longer a complete mystery to transmission system planners and engineers.


It now appears that the emphasis will be shifting in a major way to the validation of models for bulk renewable plants.  UVIG has actually been discussing this topic in the Modeling & Interconnection User Group for the last five years, and while it was recognized as a critical need by not only user group members, a natural part of the progression for all bulk power system technologies, the industry in general lacked the bandwidth and focus to make substantial progress.


The approval and forthcoming implementation of NERC Standard MOD-033-1:  Steady-State and Dynamic System Model Validation is the trigger that will up the ante on this topic.  Set to be implemented on July 1, 2017, the standard aims to “establish consistent validation requirements to facilitate the collection of accurate data and building of planning models to analyze the reliability of the interconnected transmission system.”  NERC planning coordinators will be charged with implementing a validation process for which Reliability Coordinators and Transmission Operators must provide data on system behavior.  In effect, the critical need to compare dynamic model performance to reality will be formalized via standard.


So what does this mean?  After all, it has been recognized for quite some time that all models need to be validated, and we have actually been doing this for most bulk system equipment since the early days of computer tools and methods for planning and analysis.  The responsibilities designated in the standard mandate that an actual process be created and administered by planning coordinators.  The language is stronger and more clear than in the previous standards, in recognition of some previous system events (such as the August 2003 blackout) where computer models could not adequately explain the realities of major system failures. 


The shape, form, and details of the processes as implemented by the planning coordinators are still to be determined.  Despite these uncertainties, a couple of things are pretty clear at this point for bulk renewable plants.  The first is that monitoring at the point of interconnection to the BES will become a de-facto requirement; measurement data that documents the response of the plant to an event or disturbance on the transmission network is absolutely essential for model validation, and continuous monitoring is the most effective way to acquire such data.  Second, the scope of this effort is huge.  Consider that there are probably 500 or more individual renewable plants connected to the BES in the U.S.  Through the processes mandated by MOD-033-1, each of these plants will require model validation.  While many plants may be of similar size and employ the same technology (i.e. wind turbine or power converter), each plant is unique to some degree, and the language of the standard (as well as the other standards in the NERC MOD family) views plants as individual entities. 


Needless to say, the UVIG Modeling & Interconnection User Group will be following developments relating to this looming industry change closely. 

R.M. Zavadil


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New and Cool

U.S. Department of the Interior Releases National Interactive Map of Onshore Wind Turbines

The U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Geological Survey have released the first publicly available interactive map and geo-dataset showing more than 47,000 onshore wind turbine locations and related information across the entire United States

The wind turbine map, which includes turbines installed as of July 2013, was created by combining publicly available data sets from the Federal Aviation Administration , the U.S. Energy Information Administration , the Oak Ridge National Laboratory , as well as other federal, state and local sources. USGS researchers also identified additional turbines not in those pre-existing databases and added them to the dataset and map. The locations of all turbines were visually verified using high-resolution imagery. The location of each turbine was verified to within plus or minus 10 meters, and its technical specifications were assigned based on the make and model.

To use the Interactive Map, click here.

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Why Join UVIG?

Featured Member Benefit

One of the key benefits of UVIG membership is participation in our User Groups. UVIG operates five topical user groups focused on specific areas of interest to its members:

  • Wind and Solar Plant Modeling and Interconnection
  • Operating Impact and Integration Studies
  • Distributed Generation Applications
  • Market Operation and Transmission Planning
  • Wind/Solar Plant Operations and Maintenance

These groups are open to all UWIG members (there are participation limitations for the O&M User Group). The concept is to gather together in one place all relevant information on that topical area, and make it easily available to the members. This information is housed in the member’s area of the site. Each user group has a listserv or mailing list that we use to distribute news, research reports, future events, and other information relevant to the user group’s scope. Because the User Groups cut across multiple groups within any company, we would like to encourage you to identify other individuals in your company who could benefit from participation in a User Group.  To subscribe yourself or others with your company to any of the user group listservs, please contact Sandy Smith, Note that only those members that own/operate wind or solar generation can participate in the O&M listserv.

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