All: In our work, we no longer will do a renewable energy project unless it has a 24/7 fully dispatchable capability. Energy storage systems are evolving rapidly, and the price per KW or kWh of storage is plummeting. As a result, we can uniformly offer renewable energy done building by building, or at grid scale at a price that is easily below the price of any fossil fuel option. The ability to offer dispatchable renewable energy will make the utilities more likely to move to renewables and avoid the kind of issues noted in the question.
At what point do intermittent renewables compromise supply security and lose price competitiveness?
- Aug 17, 2020 12:34 pm GMT
There has been much made in the press of the increased output of US electricity generation by renewables in the first half of 2020. Over this period around 14% of total generation came from intermittent wind and solar compared to 16% for coal. At the same time, several recent reviews indicate that these intermittent sources are also price competitive and can even undercut base-load fossil fuel and nuclear prices. The obvious path therefore is to invest principally in the cheap low-carbon generation sources.
However, it appears inevitable that for each unit of generation provided by intermittent sources at the expense of base-load power the security of supply will be compromised and compensatory battery or stand-by combined-cycle gas will also have to be built, consequently impacting the price.
This raises the question of whether these costs are currently being built into the life-time costs of intermittent sources, and what risk analyses have been carried out to evaluate supply security and price competitiveness as intermittent sources contribute a greater percentage of generation?
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