Renewable Energy

Four reasons 30% wind and solar is technically no big deal (Opinion)

Credit: Fotolia

Credit: Fotolia

Many regions are already operating power systems with more renewable energy than previously thought possible

WASHINGTON, DC — “Lower costs, enhanced capabilities, and an abundance of resources have set the United States and much of the world on track to increase renewable energy deployment and decrease carbon emissions from the energy sector.

Still, the question of whether the U.S. can reliably and affordably integrate large amounts of wind and solar confronts policymakers – so we’re giving you four reasons 30% wind and solar is technically no big deal.

Wind and solar are the fastest growing energy sources in the country, and for good reason. As experience with renewables increases and costs continue to decline, mainstream adoption of wind and solar is becoming an economic and technical reality.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates wind and solar met just 5% of U.S. electricity demand in 2015.  In its Annual Energy Outlook 2016, EIA projects that to meet the Clean Power Plan, the national share of wind and solar will likely reach 15% by 2030.  To meet the U.S.’s Paris Climate commitment while minimizing costs, Energy Innovation’s Policy Simulator recommends policies getting us to 33% wind and solar by 2030.

But to reach these goals, policymakers need confidence system operators know how to deal with higher shares of variable renewable generation.

…According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), U.S. wind and solar energy resource potential is well in excess of what’s needed to meet our current electricity demand, which currently stands at roughly 4,000 TWh of total generation, and 1,100 GW of capacity.”

— Aaron Bloom, Utility Dive

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