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Old 05-19-2019, 02:43 PM
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GIGObuster is offline
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Originally Posted by XT View Post
Except you haven't solved the key issue, that being that both wind and solar are variable while our requirements are for steady power 24/7/365. So, you are still going to need something to do that and to fill in the gaps and maintain the load. Which, if you are discounting nuclear, means fossil fuels.
So much for giving the victory to others..

In any case, I'm not discounting nuclear, but there are very good reasons and evidence to report that even with current technology we can use both solar and wind to deal with the issue.
With this information, the researchers considered two scenarios. In scenario 1, they imagined wind and solar installations that would be sufficient to supply 100% of the US electrical needs. In the second scenario, the installations would be over-designed; capable of providing 150% of the total U.S. electrical need. But the authors recognize that just because a solar panel or a wind turbine can provide all our energy, it doesn’t mean that will happen in reality. It goes back to the prior discussion that sometimes the wind just doesn’t blow, and sometimes the sun isn’t shining.
Important to notice here is that I have seen many times criticism that claims that researchers are not seeing the limitations (sun does not shine all the time, wind does not blow all the time, etc) when in reality they do.

With these two scenarios, the authors then considered different mixes of power, from all solar to all wind. They also included the effect of aggregation area, that is, what sized regions are used to generate power. Is your power coming from wind and solar in your neighborhood, your city, your state or your region?

The authors found that with 100% power capacity and no mechanism to store energy, a wind-heavy portfolio is best (about 75% wind, 25% solar) and using large aggregate regions is optimal. It is possible to supply about 75-80% of US electrical needs. If the system were designed with excess capacity (the 150% case), the US could meet about 90% of its needs with wind and solar power.

The authors recognized that sometimes these systems generate too much power to be used. Under this situation, you could store the energy for later use. Imagine a solar panel generating excess energy during the day and able to store that power for night use. Power can be stored in several ways, for example in batteries or by pumping water into elevated tanks and then letting the water fall at night and turn a turbine.

The authors modified their study to allow up to 12 hours of US energy storage. They then found that the 100% capacity system fared even better (about 90% of the country’s energy) and the optimal balance was now more solar (approximately 70% solar and 30% wind). For the over-capacity system, the authors found that virtually all the country’s power needs could be met with wind, solar, and storage.

This study considered only wind and solar. If other sources, such as hydroelectricity, biofuels, or even nuclear power were added, it would be relatively straightforward to reach 100% clean energy. Furthermore, people are learning to use energy more wisely, either by using more efficient products or purchasing electricity during off-peak hours. These behavioral changes can also help us reach a 100% clean energy target.

The point is, the use of clean energy to power an entire country (or a group of countries) is achievable. It’s no longer viable to say “we can’t.”
So, the point I made many times before stands, we can do it easily with nuclear on the mix* but doing so with other sources is less easy but not impossible at all.

*(Hence why I do support standardization and government deployment of nuclear as free enterprise is dropping the ball, just like vaccines** are seen now many times as a loss by the pharmaceutical industry now.)

** And really, pharmaceutical companies are doing such dick moves because of economics, but it would be an even bigger dick move if they claimed that they are dropping vaccines because of what antivaxxeers are doing. And as an aside, it has been very insulting from you to equate anti-vaxxers with the ones opposing nuclear power, they are loopy of course; but they have very plausible reasons for their opposition and not completely and absolutely insane ones like the anti-vaxxers do.