Full Report

Report Overview

The Pan-Canadian Wind Integration Study (PCWIS) explores the implications of integrating large amounts of wind in the Canadian electricity system in order to improve understanding of the operational challenges and opportunities associated with high wind-energy penetration in Canada.

The data available through this study provides a national technical platform that can be used to inform the development of local, provincial, regional, and North American energy policies that are realistically achievable and technically sound.

Because the power grids represented in this study are extremely large and complex systems, covering most of North America, the underlying model included representation of both the entire Eastern Interconnection and the Western Interconnection. It also presents a national view of the electrical system that has not previously existed and provides Canadian wind integration data of a nature, type and extent never before available, making possible Canada’s participation in future continental-wide North American studies.

A summary PowerPoint Slideshow provides an overview of how the Pan-Canadian Wind Integration Study was designed and the key findings that were returned.


This study modelled power grids in the United States and Canada under four scenarios (see figure 1-2) with wind penetration levels ranging from five per cent to 35 per cent of forecast annual system load energy in 2025:

  • Business As Usual (BAU): five per cent wind penetration
  • Dispersed Wind Locations (DISP): 20 per cent wind penetration by province
  • Concentrated Wind Locations (CONC): 20 per cent wind penetration in best regions
  • Targeted Wind Locations (TRGT): 35 per cent wind penetration





Figure 1-2: Locations of Wind Plants in Study Scenarios

The study used the GE Concorda Suite Multi-Area Production Simulation (GE-MAPS) model for production costing analysis, and the GE Multi-Area Reliability Simulation (GE-MARS) model for reliability analysis and wind capacity valuation.


Figure 1-1: Flowchart of Project Tasks and Participating Team Members

To begin with, over 54,000 potential cells were identified. A cell refers to a point location and hypothetical wind development site in the Canadian domain collocated with a numerical weather prediction (NWP) grid point. Each cell represents four square kilometers, with a presumed maximum installation capacity of eight 2 MW modern utility-scale wind turbines. Each cell therefore has a maximum rated capacity of 16 MW.

Then, potential wind energy development sites were selected and the corresponding cells within each site footprint were combined into individual utility-scale wind power plants to achieve the penetration levels of each scenario. Additional firm capacity was also included to meet reserve margin targets of each province.

Finally, sufficient transmission expansion was embedded to allow import and export to neighboring provinces and the United States.

Hourly and sub-hourly time series simulations were performed for three calendar years to investigate the impact of the wind energy on grid economics and operations in each scenario. A number of sensitivity analyses were also undertaken to assess the influence of such parameters such as:

  • Price of natural gas
  • Extent of coal retirement
  • Hydroelectric power scheduling
  • Wind resource annual variability
  • Load annual variability
  • Level of U.S. wind energy penetration
  • Addition of solar photovoltaic (PV)
  • Addition of storage and electric vehicle charging

The production simulation results quantified numerous impacts on grid operation under different scenarios on an hourly basis, including:

  • Electricity generation by each defined generation resource and unit type
  • Operational performance of generation resources
  • Curtailed energy due to higher penetration of wind energy and transmission congestion
  • Environmental emissions (SO2, NOX, and CO2)
  • System-wide operational costs (so-called production costs)
  • Power flows and congestion on monitored transmission tie-lines

Downloadable Report Sections

The Pan-Canadian Wind Integration Study (PCWIS) is downloadable in PDF format, by section.

  1. Summary Report
  2. Introduction and Scope
  3. Wind Data Development
  4. Assumptions and Scenarios
  5. Statistical and Reserve Analysis
  6. Scenario Analysis
  7. Transmission Reinforcements
  8. Sensitivity Analysis
  9. Sub-Hourly Analysis
  10. Wind Capacity Valuation
  11. Appendices and References

Download the full report (19 MB).

Download a summary PowerPoint Slideshow.