Wind and solar power could meet four-fifths of US electricity demand, study finds

Heated discussions on a hot topic.
User avatar
Gawdzilla Sama
Real Skeptic
Posts: 22766
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2008 2:11 am
Custom Title: Deadly but evil.

Wind and solar power could meet four-fifths of US electricity demand, study finds

Post by Gawdzilla Sama » Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:22 am

Wind and solar power could meet four-fi ... tudy finds
Investment in greater storage, transmission capabilities needed

Date: February 27, 2018

Source: University of California - Irvine

Summary: The United States could reliably meet about 80 percent of its electricity demand with solar and wind power generation, according to scientists.
The United States could reliably meet about 80 percent of its electricity demand with solar and wind power generation, according to scientists at the University of California, Irvine; the California Institute of Technology; and the Carnegie Institution for Science.

However, meeting 100 percent of electricity demand with only solar and wind energy would require storing several weeks' worth of electricity to compensate for the natural variability of these two resources, the researchers said.

"The sun sets, and the wind doesn't always blow," noted Steven Davis, UCI associate professor of Earth system science and co-author of a renewable energy study published today in the journal Energy & Environmental Science. "If we want a reliable power system based on these resources, how do we deal with their daily and seasonal changes?"

The team analyzed 36 years of hourly U.S. weather data (1980 to 2015) to understand the fundamental geophysical barriers to supplying electricity with only solar and wind energy.

"We looked at the variability of solar and wind energy over both time and space and compared that to U.S. electricity demand," Davis said. "What we found is that we could reliably get around 80 percent of our electricity from these sources by building either a continental-scale transmission network or facilities that could store 12 hours' worth of the nation's electricity demand."

The researchers said that such expansion of transmission or storage capabilities would mean very substantial -- but not inconceivable -- investments. They estimated that the cost of the new transmission lines required, for example, could be hundreds of billions of dollars. In comparison, storing that much electricity with today's cheapest batteries would likely cost more than a trillion dollars, although prices are falling
Continues...
Chachacha wrote:"Oh, thweet mythtery of wife, at waft I've found you!"
WWII Resources. Primary sources.
The Myths of Pearl Harbor. Demythologizing the attack.
Hyperwar. Hypertext history of the Second World War.
The greatest place to work in the entire United States.

User avatar
ElectricMonk
Perpetual Poster
Posts: 4467
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:21 pm
Custom Title: The Baby-eating Bishop

Re: Wind and solar power could meet four-fifths of US electricity demand, study finds

Post by ElectricMonk » Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:29 am

Related:
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... -utilities

Power consumption in the developed world is flat-lining or even going down. That seriously messes with the business model of utilities, making it harder to spend money on investments.

User avatar
Lance Kennedy
Has No Life
Posts: 11865
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2005 10:20 pm
Custom Title: Super Skeptic
Location: Paradise, New Zealand

Re: Wind and solar power could meet four-fifths of US electricity demand, study finds

Post by Lance Kennedy » Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:42 am

Add nuclear power to the mix, which does not generate greenhouse gases, and is the safest of all methods, and the USA could easily meet 100%.

User avatar
ElectricMonk
Perpetual Poster
Posts: 4467
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:21 pm
Custom Title: The Baby-eating Bishop

Re: Wind and solar power could meet four-fifths of US electricity demand, study finds

Post by ElectricMonk » Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:55 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:Add nuclear power to the mix, which does not generate greenhouse gases, and is the safest of all methods, and the USA could easily meet 100%.
Currently too expensive.

User avatar
Lance Kennedy
Has No Life
Posts: 11865
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2005 10:20 pm
Custom Title: Super Skeptic
Location: Paradise, New Zealand

Re: Wind and solar power could meet four-fifths of US electricity demand, study finds

Post by Lance Kennedy » Fri Mar 09, 2018 3:57 am

Actually still cheaper than solar if you add in the cost of storing the solar energy for use at night. Wind power has the same problem, when you consider the periods of relative calm.

Nuclear is still the best method for continuous steady production. Solar and wind power are extremely intermittent, and require a steadier back up.

User avatar
ElectricMonk
Perpetual Poster
Posts: 4467
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:21 pm
Custom Title: The Baby-eating Bishop

Re: Wind and solar power could meet four-fifths of US electricity demand, study finds

Post by ElectricMonk » Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:09 am

Nope - solar is cheaper even with storage.
Nuclear needs tax money to stay competitive.

User avatar
Lance Kennedy
Has No Life
Posts: 11865
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2005 10:20 pm
Custom Title: Super Skeptic
Location: Paradise, New Zealand

Re: Wind and solar power could meet four-fifths of US electricity demand, study finds

Post by Lance Kennedy » Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:54 pm

EM

Solar with storage in the USA, according to Wiki, is about $1.20 per kilowatt hour on average. Nuclear is about $ 1.00.

Where you may be going astray is in the fact that nuclear requires massive capital investment, whereas solar can be set up very small scale for minimal investment. But solar and wind are too intermittent to rely on totally, which means a steady provider that does not vary according to local conditions is justified, despite high capital costs, to bring output up to 100%. Certainly nuclear power is much to be preferred over burning coal or gas, which is the other main option. Hydroelectricity and geothermal power are other minor possibilities, but require natural assets which are in short supply.

User avatar
ElectricMonk
Perpetual Poster
Posts: 4467
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:21 pm
Custom Title: The Baby-eating Bishop

Re: Wind and solar power could meet four-fifths of US electricity demand, study finds

Post by ElectricMonk » Sat Mar 10, 2018 7:52 am

As usual, Lance, you ignore all the costs nuclear power requires to operate, which are often paid by the state and not the electricity company, starting with insurance.
You also ignore the fact that it takes a long time to power a reactor up and down, which is a serious problem for keeping a grid balanced. Nuclear power needs energy storage, too, such as your favorite: hydroelectric dams.

User avatar
Lance Kennedy
Has No Life
Posts: 11865
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2005 10:20 pm
Custom Title: Super Skeptic
Location: Paradise, New Zealand

Re: Wind and solar power could meet four-fifths of US electricity demand, study finds

Post by Lance Kennedy » Sat Mar 10, 2018 7:53 pm

EM

I carefully read the preamble to the Wiki reference giving costs. It state unambiguously that the costs INCLUDED everything.

There are always extra costs associated with RECEIVING electricity, but the costs I quoted are valid for generating.

One thing I have come to realise is that the consumer who pays his/her electricity bill is not paying a sum that reflects the cost of generation. From his or her view point, it matters not a damn how the electricity is generated, since the utility company is charging all that the market will bear. It is not the cost of generation that drives down what the consumer pays, but the competition faced by the utility.