We have focused on building a computational framework
for estimating two types of costs associated with introducing
renewable generation as: (i) the investment required for the
upgrade of equipment (to handle the new power injected)
and (ii) the proximity costs (as the amount needed to
transport the power from the farm to the grid). We presented
the two-pass approach that allows for the spatial optimization
of renewable energy sites. The simulations that revealed the
number of over-loaded lines and number of under- and over-
voltage buses helped us identify installation sites more likely
for successful cost-effective integration while considering
electrical stability. The transmission costs captured the
feasibility from an infrastructural viewpoint. The
transmission costs combined with the power-flow costs
helped us assess the financial aspects of integrating
renewable energy beyond just the equipment purchase and
In studying close to 500 potential sites for renewable
energy farming, we observe that the integration and
transmission costs can be as exorbitant as the cost of the
renewable energy equipment themselves. With a mile of
transmission line costing close to a $1M, upgrades to lines
costing about $0.5M, and building a new sub-station costing
a few millions of dollars, the importance of having to
consider integration and transmission costs cannot be over-
The contributions of this paper are two-fold: (i) we have
described a methodology to integrate electrical infrastructure
related costs together with the proximity costs while planning
for renewable energy investment in an evaluation study
considering an actual US electric grid network, and (ii) we
have demonstrated the construction of the two constituent
cost layers - spatial proximity cost and power-flow cost to
quantify and anticipate the impact of installing new energy
This methodology lends itself to systematic inclusion of
land cost, resource potential, policy considerations, etc., that
feed into an optimization program [21,22] for feasibility
evaluation and investment enabling the integration of diverse
This manuscript is authored by employees of UTBattelle,
LLC, under contract DE-AC05-00OR22725 with the U.S.
Department of Energy. Accordingly, the United States
Government retains and the publisher, by accepting the
article for publication, acknowledges that the United States
Government retains a non-exclusive, paid-up, irrevocable,
world-wide license to publish or reproduce the published
form of this manuscript, or allow others to do so, for United
States Government purposes.
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