Matthew R. Shaner, Steven J. Davis, Nathan S. Lewis, Ken Caldeira. Geophysical constraints on the reliability of solar and wind power in the United States. Energy Environ. Sci., 2018, doi: 10.1039/C7EE03029K
We analyze 36 years of global, hourly weather data (1980–2015) to quantify the covariability of solar and wind resources as a function of time and location, over multi-decadal time scales and up to continental length scales. Assuming minimal excess generation, lossless transmission, and no other generation sources, the analysis indicates that wind-heavy or solar-heavy U.S.-scale power generation portfolios could in principle provide ∼80% of recent total annual U.S. electricity demand. However, to reliably meet 100% of total annual electricity demand, seasonal cycles and unpredictable weather events require several weeks’ worth of energy storage and/or the installation of much more capacity of solar and wind power than is routinely necessary to meet peak demand. To obtain ∼80% reliability, solar-heavy wind/solar generation mixes require sufficient energy storage to overcome the daily solar cycle, whereas wind-heavy wind/solar generation mixes require continental-scale transmission to exploit the geographic diversity of wind. Policy and planning aimed at providing a reliable electricity supply must therefore rigorously consider constraints associated with the geophysical variability of the solar and wind resource—even over continental scales.
“At a recent public hearing, some Californians demanded EPA head Scott Pruitt reimpose Obama era climate policies on the rest of the United States. In my opinion, people who support Governor Brown’s green policies or re-imposition of Obama era energy policies are ignoring the hardship green policies create for poor people.” click here
“The one thing we know for sure is that even though sunlight and moving air is free, there is no country on Earth with lots of solar and wind power and cheap electricity.” click here
An odd state of affairs for nuclear power generation. On the one-hand it is ending largely due to poor experiences with PWRs (here). And yet it is just beginning to see support again as even environmentalist activists realize (here) that renewables are an inadequate solution to long-term power generation.
“After decades of promises about its potential, the window of opportunity is closing for nuclear power. Hated by the Left despite its carbon-free generation of electricity, their opposition plus decades of utilities’ screw-ups have weakened it. New energy tech — renewables and fracking — appears to be finishing it off.” click here
“Where does that leave us? With some more uncomfortable facts. Like if Germany hadn’t closed its nuclear plants, it’s emissions would be 43 percent lower than they are today. And if you care about climate change, that’s something you at least have to wrestle with — especially in light of the facts I’ve presented on the health impacts of different energy sources.” click here
“There is one problem. Ecologists say that the claims of carbon neutrality, which are accepted by the European Union and the British government, do not stand up to scrutiny. The forests of North Carolina, Louisiana, and Mississippi — as well as those in Europe — are being destroyed to sustain a European fantasy about renewable energy. And with many power plants in Europe and elsewhere starting to replace coal with wood, the question of who is right is becoming ever more important.” click here
In the 1980’s I purchase a solar system to provide heat to my home. It worked somewhat but not to the level as was advertised. Even back then with government subsidies great claims were made about what solar power could achieve if there was just more government money invested in it. (Have we heard that recently?) And now just like back then companies took the money, made a few shrewd business people rich (?), but failed to produce the promised results. Technology has advanced since then for sure.
I like solar energy. But it must stand on its own in the market place to succeed. Clearly, at this point in time it has not.
“A green energy company heavily incentivized by Mississippi is shutting down, raising questions about whether the state will get repaid.
Solar panel maker Stion notified the state Tuesday that it would close its Hattiesburg plant Dec. 13, laying off 137 employees.” click here
“I have concentrated on the UK, but let me finish with a couple of statistics for worldwide wind power, from the BP Energy Review.
- At 959 TWh, wind power accounted for 3.9% of world electricity generation last year.
- In terms of overall energy consumption, the share of wind was 1.6%.
Every year we hear how wind power is going up by leaps and bounds. It is wise though to bear in mind just what a low base it is starting from.” click here