Solar + wind energy can meet 80% of U.S. electricity demand
2018-03-14

According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) technology news sharing platform EurekAlert! According to the latest information, a joint study from a U.S. research institute showed that solar power and wind power can reliably meet 80% of the country's electricity demand. The article was published in the latest issue of the Journal of Energy and Environmental Sciences.


A joint research team from the University of California, Irvine, California Institute of Technology, and the Carnegie Institute of Science analyzed weather data for each hour in the United States from 1980 to 2015 to understand the power generation from solar and wind alone. obstacle.


"If we want a reliable power system based on these resources, we must consider how to deal with its daily and seasonal changes," said Steven Davis, associate professor of Earth system science at the University of California, Irvine.


He explained that the team studied the temporal and spatial changes in solar and wind energy and compared it to the US electricity demand. The results show that by building a mainland transmission network or a facility that can store 12 hours of national electricity demand, it can reliably Get about 80% of all required electricity.


Researchers say that this expansion of transmission or storage capabilities means very significant investments. They estimate that the cost of new transmission lines may be as high as hundreds of billions of dollars. However, today's cheapest battery is more expensive to store electricity, which can exceed one trillion dollars. Other forms of energy do not have such great potential. For example, although the eastern part of the United States is rich in water resources, its elevation is not high, and there is limited potential for hydropower generation that requires potential energy.


Currently, non-renewable energy based electricity production accounts for about 38% of the US's carbon dioxide emissions, and carbon dioxide pollution is the main cause of global warming. Based on this research, Davis was encouraged by the prospect of using wind and solar energy in the future. Because just five years ago, there were still many people who doubted that these resources alone could only cover 20%-30% of all electricity demand.


However, it should be pointed out that the energy reserve problem caused by seasonal and weather changes must also be overcome to achieve the desired 80% power standard. “Our work shows that there is still a need for some low-carbon emission power generation methods, such as nuclear power, to meet the gap until the final power storage and transmission capacity reaches the desired level of work.”


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