This paper provides an assessment of wind power effects on technical and economic performance of today's electric power systems. While a small penetration of wind power is unlikely to cause any qualitative changes, significant deployment of wind-generated power will require a 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 today's operating practices are adjusted to make the most out of the available resources, including the intermittent wind power. Moreover, we suggest that an analysis should 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.
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