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Generating Electricity from Various Renewable Sources: Effect on Grid

COURSE NO: R06-002
Generating Electricity from Various Renewable Sources: Effect on Grid
Course Highlights

This online engineering PDH course provides an overview of the current U.S. electrical grid, including: 1) how planning and operations are carried out to ensure reliability, 2) requirements for power reserves to provide continuous service in the face of equipment failure, 3) transmission technology, and 4) economic aspects. It then explores the challenges to the grid posed by high levels of variable renewable generation and some changes that are expected to occur in response to these challenges.


Since its origin in the early 1920s, the U.S. electrical grid has evolved to handle power sources whose output is predictable and can be controlled. Examples are coal, oil, natural gas, and hydropower.  Because the output from these sources is controllable, operators of the grid can work with power plant operators to increase or decrease power production as the load on the grid varies. Through an intricate system of load balancing developed by many people over the years, grid operators are thus able to maintain stable, high-quality electrical power in the grid. However, once renewable sources of energy (such as solar and wind) are attached to the grid, problems arise. These sources of energy are variable and uncertain.  Operators cannot control when the sun shines or when the wind blows. Thus operators now have to deal not only with a varying load, but also with a varying power source.


This 6 PDH online course is intended primarily for engineers concerned with the use of solar and wind energy to produce electrical energy.


Learning Objectives

This PE continuing education course is intended to provide you with the following specific knowledge and skills:

  • Understanding the North American electric power system
  • Familiarizing with Balancing authorities, regional entities, utilities and power pools
  • Learning about independent system and regional transmission operators
  • Learning about other transmission organizations
  • Learning about utility system planning
  • Learning about grid reliability: planning reserves (reserve margin)
  • Learning about power system operations
  • Learning about transmission technology and institutional issues
  • Understanding the technical and institutional challenges challenge of variable generation
  • Understanding the impact of variable generation on power system operations
  • Understanding the impact of variable generation on power transmission
Course Document

In this professional engineering CEU course, you need to review Volume 4, "Exploration Bulk Electric Power Systems: Operations and Transmission Planning" of the Renewable Electricity Futures Study, NREL/TP-6A20-52409-4, by Milligan, M.; Ela, E.; Hein, J.; Schneider, T.; Brinkman, G.; Denholm, published 2012.

To view, print and study the course document, please click on the following link(s):
Generating Electricity from Various Renewable Sources (2.32 MB)
Course Quiz
Once you complete your course review, you need to take a multiple-choice quiz consisting of thirty five (35) questions to earn 6 PDH credits. The quiz will be based on this DOE publication.


The minimum passing score is 70%. There is no time limit on the quiz, and you can take it multiple times until you pass at no additional cost.
Certificate of Completion

Upon successful completion of the quiz, print your Certificate of Completion instantly. (Note: if you are paying by check or money order, you may print your Certificate of Completion after we receive your payment.) For your convenience, we will also email you your Certificate of Completion. Also, you can log in to your account at any time to access and print your Certificate of Completion.

To buy the course and take the quiz, please click on: