Monday, April 22, 2013
Renewable energy still an option
If you talk to industry pundits about the viability of renewable resources in the U.S. power grid, many will tell you that the idea is nice, but not really an option at this point. The issue is simple - the most widely available renewable resources are intermittent and, therefore, not reliable enough to depend on full time. Thermal and hydro-electric power are excellent sources of energy, but technological and geographical limitations can hold those sectors back. This leaves solar and wind as the most widely accessible options, but you can't exactly predict how much energy the wind will create on a given day, making it a far from ideal option. At least, that is what the power generation industry has thought for a long time.
The experts may be wrong about using renewable resources in the energy grid.A recent Synapse Energy Economics study found that the U.S. power grid could function reliably while depending heavily on renewable energy resources, even with current grid technologies intact.
Considering renewable resources
According to the news source, ifcoal burning is stopped, many nuclear power facilities are shut down and reliance on natural gas use declines by 2050, the grid willbe able to sustain operations by depending on renewable resources, particularly wind and solar energy. This conclusion stands in contrast with many popular opinions, butThomas Vitolo , analyst for Synapse Energy Economics, explained renewable energy can get the job done, despite popular belief.
"Put simply, the message today is this: It is a myth to say that the United States cannot rely on renewables for the bulk of its electricity generation," said Vitolo. "This study finds that the projected mixes, based entirely on existing technology and operational practices, are capable of balancing projected load in 2030 and 2050 for each region - in nearly every hour of every season of the year."
Advancing renewables use
While the current grid may be able to sustain renewable energy use, many experts agree that smart grid solutions could play a major role in enabling better solar and wind power use. By combining technological solutions like network functionality, real-time data analysis, terminal servers, smart meters and a variety of IT systems, utility providers can create an intelligent grid that can predict power demands and switch between energy sources in a seamless way. As a result, the grid can better support renewable resource use and help make a vision for a more sustainable power delivery system a reality.
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