See Shayle Kann’s great piece at GreenTech media. The choices:
- “Version one: Aimless transformation”
- “Version two: The balkanized grid”
- “Version three: Embracing the transformation”
In addition to solar PV, wind energy of all forms (especially underutilized local wind turbines), and energy storage, Kann is right on, in my opinion, emphasizing the great potential of blockchain technology. See here for a primer.
Also, the supposed need for base load is a chimera and just as mythical, and concerns about duck curves are misplaced. The grid is a network, and like any network, including the communications network known as the Internet, load needs to be shaped some times. That’s part of what demand response is about, but what some fail to see is that, on this point, a grid is better off having a large number of spatially separated, small generators than a few large generators, even if the large generators are all zero Carbon. This is particularly true if some of the generators have their own energy storage or are entirely energy storage centers.
As Germany found, integrating varying solar and wind power with steady “baseload” plants can present challenges for the opposite of the reason originally supposed: not because wind and solar power vary (demand varies even less predictably), but because “baseload” plants are too inflexible.
And, finally, whatever the road chosen on the grid, as I’ve emphasized here repeatedly, even the conservative (*) and Carbon worshipping U.S. Energy Information Administration is now projecting a great role for zero Carbon energy by 2030. And the news from REN continues to be excellent.
* By “conservative” I do not mean political conservativism but, rather, the tendency for the EIA to most reluctantly budge from extrapolation of past data onto what would be considered reasonable economic forecasting in nearly any other field.
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