Why Grid Interconnections Help Renewable Energy

Wind, solar, and other renewable energy technologies are being deployed at a rapid pace. The need for cleaner sources of energy has never been more pressing nor at the fore of the energy industry’s growth. Using clean, renewable sources of energy helps countries reduce their overall carbon emissions and helps create a cleaner living environment.
In an ideal world, all our energy would come from renewable sources, but this is, in many cases, not feasible. Some countries such as Norway, Costa Rica, and Iceland boast high levels of renewable energy penetration thanks to their geographical characteristics and their ability to deploy hydro-electricity and geothermal energy. However, for most countries, these resources aren’t available, and they must rely on more intermittent sources of renewable energy such as solar and wind.
In these cases, the scale of the grid can really help determine renewable energy’s success. By creating a larger grid and connecting the existing grids to neighbouring grids ensuring sufficient transfer capacity, producers and consumers of energy as well as the gird operators can effectively manage all power sources and deploy renewable energy as best as possible.
In small, isolated, grids renewable energy often must be coupled with a spinning reserve to ensure that there is no shortfall when demand spikes, or when renewable production declines. More producers on the grid, and more demand helps operators better balance the network and redeploy energy sources on an as-needed basis rather than keeping a high percentage of capacity in active standby.
Weather patterns and available resources can differ between locations. Having a concentrated renewable energy fleet means that if conditions aren’t conducive for production in that one area, the entire fleet is useless and fossil fuel is still relied upon. With a larger grid, these discrepancies are mitigated and there are more opportunities for renewable input to the grid with a larger, more spread-out number of plants.