Exploding the Myths Surrounding Renewable Energy

One of the main arguments fossil fuel interests use against solar and wind energy is fear – that we’ll no longer have reliable energy if we depend too much on these intermittent sources and that energy will become very expensive.

Stick to the tried-and-true fossil fuels, they say, or your lights could go out.

A new study adds to the growing research that severely weakens that argument.

The Lights Will Stay On Even When the Wind Doesn’t Blow And the Sun Doesn’t Shine …

If the US ceases to burn coal, shuts down a quarter of existing nuclear reactors, and cuts natural gas use by 2030, the resulting increased reliance on efficiency and renewable energy will NOT result in a less reliable electricity grid, concludes a report commissioned by the Civil Society Institute. 

Impressively, they find that under this scenario, regional electricity generation supply could meet or exceed demand 99.4% of the day, without imports from other regions and without turning to reserve storage. 

And surplus power would be available for export 8.6% of the time, providing an ample safety net across all regions of the US.

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"This study shows that the U.S. electricity grid could integrate and balance many times the current level of renewables with no additional reliability issues. Recent improvements in renewable technologies and in those used to control and balance the grid have been proceeding at a rapid pace, and the incentives and rewards for success in this area continue to drive substantial progress," says Grant Smith, senior energy analyst for Civil Society Institute.

"In contrast, the alternative – continuing to rely on increasing combustion of fossil fuels to generate electricity, and producing ever-increasing levels of greenhouse gases – is far less feasible, and presents much more daunting technical, economic, and social challenges to human and environmental welfare. In comparison, the challenge of integrating increasing levels of solar and wind power on the U.S. power grids requires only incremental improvements in technology and operational practices."

Synapse, which conducted the study, also found that this "Transition Scenario" saves $83 billion compared to continuing with status quo energy, while significantly cutting carbon and other pollutant emissions.

Two other recent studies also show the combination of efficiency and renewable energy can supply the world’s energy by 2050:  The Energy Report: 100% Renewable Energy by 2050 and Energy [R]evolution: A Sustainable World Energy Outlook.

Others show that wind can easily supply half the world’s power and solar can supply 100% of it on just 1% of the world’s land. solar could power

Read the Synapse/ Civil Society report:

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