Feeds

Renewables good for 80 per cent of US demand by 2050

NREL spikes ‘can’t do baseload’ myth

The next step in data security

One of the greatest objections made against the use of renewable energy for electricity supply, that only coal, gas or nuclear power can sustain a modern economy’s baseload power generation demand, has come under scrutiny in a new report by America’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

In fact, the NREL’s Renewable Electricity Futures Study finds, renewable technologies available today – finds that technologies already commercially available today could, if deployed right, supply 80 per cent of America’s needs by 2050, “while meeting electricity demand on an hourly basis in every region of the country”.

Although the main focus of the renewable debate is on wind and photovoltaic, the report notes that other commercial technologies will be required, including geothermal, biomass, wave power, and hydro. Wind and photovoltaic still figure most prominently in the study, with models putting their input at 50 per cent of national demand.

Nor are the economics prohibitive. The report modeled a range of renewable targets, from 30 per cent to 90 per cent, and found that in the 80 per cent renewable model, the cost of renewable generation is “comparable to published cost estimates of other clean energy sources”.

“Improvement in the cost and performance of renewable technologies is the most impactful lever for reducing this incremental cost,” the report states.

The key challenge, the report finds, is in re-engineering the electricity grid to cope with the geographical distribution, variability and uncertainty in output from individual renewable power plants. In this, the NREL study agrees with recent work from Australia's science agency CSIRO looking at how national grids need to change to accommodate high-penetration renewable energy. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.