Renewable energy could fully power a large electric grid 99.9 percent of the time by 2030 at costs comparable to today’s electricity expenses, according to new research.
“A well-designed combination of wind power, solar power and storage in batteries and fuel cells would nearly always exceed electricity demands while keeping costs low, the scientists found.”
“The study sheds light on what an electric system might look like with heavy reliance on renewable energy sources. Wind speeds and sun exposure vary with weather and seasons, requiring ways to improve reliability. In this study, reliability was achieved by: expanding the geographic area of renewable generation, using diverse sources, employing storage systems, and for the last few percent of the time, burning fossil fuels as a backup.”
“The study used estimates of technology costs in 2030 without government subsidies, comparing them to costs of fossil fuel generation in wide use today. The cost of fossil fuels includes both the fuel cost itself and the documented external costs such as human health effects caused by power plant air pollution. The projected capital costs for wind and solar in 2030 are about half of today’s wind and solar costs, whereas maintenance costs are projected to be approximately the same.”
Study available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378775312014759
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