This paper provides an assessment of wind power effects on technical and economic performance of today’s electric power systems. While small penetration of wind power is unlikely to cause any qualitative changes, significant percent of wind-generated power will require
major rethinking of generation dispatch and automatic generation control, in particular. We summarize technical risks, as well as the economic implications on total cost of providing power to customers. The discussion is presented for both traditional fully regulated utilities and for the portions of the electric power interconnection which are undergoing restructuring. The paper suggests that the ultimate benefit of wind power to the customers will depend to a large extent on how well are today’s operating practices adjusted to make the most out of the available
resources, including the intermittent wind power. Moreover, we suggest that an analysis could be done to determine the amount of wind power for a given system beyond which benefits are difficult to capture because of the necessary additional infrastructure cost.