reference : Evaluation of a proposal for reliable low-cost grid power with 100% wind, water, and solar

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reftype Journal Article
Abstract Previous analyses have found that the most feasible route to a low-carbon energy future is one that adopts a diverse portfolio of technologies. In contrast, Jacobson et al. (2015) consider whether the future primary energy sources for the United States could be narrowed to almost exclusively wind, solar, and hydroelectric power and suggest that this can be done at “low-cost” in a way that supplies all power with a probability of loss of load “that exceeds electric-utility-industry standards for reliability”. We find that their analysis involves errors, inappropriate methods, and implausible assumptions. Their study does not provide credible evidence for rejecting the conclusions of previous analyses that point to the benefits of considering a broad portfolio of energy system options. A policy prescription that overpromises on the benefits of relying on a narrower portfolio of technologies options could be counterproductive, seriously impeding the move to a cost effective decarbonized energy system.A number of analyses, meta-analyses, and assessments, including those performed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the International Energy Agency, have concluded that deployment of a diverse portfolio of clean energy technologies makes a transition to a low-carbon-emission energy system both more feasible and less costly than other pathways. In contrast, Jacobson et al. [Jacobson MZ, Delucchi MA, Cameron MA, Frew BA (2015) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 112(49):15060–15065] argue that it is feasible to provide “low-cost solutions to the grid reliability problem with 100% penetration of WWS [wind, water and solar power] across all energy sectors in the continental United States between 2050 and 2055”, with only electricity and hydrogen as energy carriers. In this paper, we evaluate that study and find significant shortcomings in the analysis. In particular, we point out that this work used invalid modeling tools, contained modeling errors, and made implausible and inadequately supported assumptions. Policy makers should treat with caution any visions of a rapid, reliable, and low-cost transition to entire energy systems that relies almost exclusively on wind, solar, and hydroelectric power.
Author Clack, Christopher T. M.; Qvist, Staffan A.; Apt, Jay; Bazilian, Morgan; Brandt, Adam R.; Caldeira, Ken; Davis, Steven J.; Diakov, Victor; Handschy, Mark A.; Hines, Paul D. H.; Jaramillo, Paulina; Kammen, Daniel M.; Long, Jane C. S.; Morgan, M. Granger; Reed, Adam; Sivaram, Varun; Sweeney, James; Tynan, George R.; Victor, David G.; Weyant, John P.; Whitacre, Jay F.
DOI 10.1073/pnas.1610381114
Issue 26
Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA
Pages 6722-6727
Title Evaluation of a proposal for reliable low-cost grid power with 100% wind, water, and solar
URL http://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/114/26/6722.full.pdf
Volume 114
Year 2017
Bibliographic identifiers
_record_number 82
_uuid 0f382a94-6e97-4c33-b32e-6a2996f1136a