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Oops: Rick Perry may have stumbled upon solution to going 100% renewable

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ThinkProgress

Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s new grid study is filled with buried treasure, including the solution to enabling very deep renewable energy penetration: The future is smart control systems and electric cars.

The study was intended to find out if renewable energy is jeopardizing the nation’s power grid and causing coal-fired and nuclear power plants to close. Perry ordered the report to support the case he’d been making that renewables were harming the grid.

As it turns out, though, the recent sharp increase in renewable penetration doesn’t harm grid reliability or flexibility — which is in fact higher than ever — but it does offer major benefits.

Renewables were at most a minor contributor to the shutdown of baseload coal and nuclear power plants in recent years — the real culprit was cheaped fracked gas and the fact that many of those plants were 60 or 70 years old.

And buried deep in the report is the fact that renewables help stabilize prices and make Americans’ electricity bills more manageable.

The report also explains that a source of grid flexibility in the future (if it’s needed because of much deeper renewable penetration) would be “smart charging” plug-in electric vehicles. Utilities could use these to balance out electricity demand and generation:

An aggregated fleet of vehicles or chargers can act as a [demand response] resource, shifting load in response to price signals or operational needs; for example, vehicle charging could be shifted to the middle of the day to absorb high levels of solar generation and shifted away from evening hours when solar generation disappears and system net load peaks.”

DOE’s national labs are researching this possibility, and one European utility is already doing it.

ThinkProgress. Reproduced with permission  

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  • Joe

    Ya just gotta luv ‘The Conservatives’ both here in Australia and over there in The U.S. of the A….they hate RE. The Abbott on the back of his anti Carbon Tax crusade set up a ‘study’ into RE when he became PM. He was hoping that the findings would be a political gift to him to tell him that RE was responsible for rising energy prices…BUT…the ‘study’ came back with the opposite findings, that of RE putting downwards pressure on energy prices. It didn’t go to script and The COALition just won’t let it go. And now we have the Perry in The U.S. of the A. falling into the same trap, talk about dumb asses here and overseas.

    • john

      joe your correct in fact the review was supposed to show that the use of RE and support of that has put up power prices how embarrassing was it that in fact the use of RE has put downward pressure and delivered lower end cost to consumers.

  • Chris Fraser

    Never commission a partisan Report until you know the outcome.

  • john

    So bottom line this is the end of the article

    The bottom line: No matter what massaging of the findings team Trump have done, the DOE grid study makes perfectly clear that we can keep increasing renewable energy penetration while increasing grid reliability and flexibility. And that will not only keep electricity bills manageable for Americans, it will cut carbon pollution.

    So reading that it means that the use of Renewable Energy is not going to hurt the grid in fact considering it is distributed it will make the grid more resilient.

  • gamegetter II

    “We just need to steadily reduce carbon pollution, first by making an orderly transition away from coal, and then by shrinking the role of gas to a purely supporting role, and finally by going 100 percent carbon free, even perhaps with some fast-ramping fossil for extremely rare situations.”

    CO2 is not a pollutant.
    CO2 is not ” carbon pollution”
    There has been zero ” global warming/ climate change” for over 20 years.
    Wind and solar can not meet current demand, much less future demand for electricity.
    We do not need to ” pollute the landscape with hundreds of millions of acres of solar panels or millions and millions of bird and bat shredding windmills. Windmills that create more ” carbon pollution” , air and water pollution during resource extraction and manfacture than they can ever make up for by being “renewable”.
    Windmills and solar panels both have lifespans that make them net polluters, as they must be replaced.
    Wind farms and solar arrays both use absurd amounts of concrete during construction.
    The only renewable energy that does not end up being a net polluter is hydroelectric.
    That’s the only logical renewable energy source- but the Gaia worshipers are busy tearing down dams.
    The only thing solar panels are good for is mounting on rooftops for residential and commercial use- same with windmills- only good for small scale applications- neither scales up to generate enough power to replace coal, natural gas, nuclear,or hydro.
    Hydro is the safest, causes the least pollution of any kind during resource extraction and construction, and does the least damage to the environment in all phases including power generation.
    Better to have extra reservoirs whi h can provide power, recreational opportunities, water for irrigation, and drinking water. All without miles and miles of windmills and solar arrays screwing up the landscape.

    • Ren Stimpy

      I’m guessing you don’t live in Australia? Our current government came to power with a promise to (among other things) plan a series of dams. There was even a “short list” of 30 potential dam sites.

      After four years in government what have they achieved in terms of dams? The grand total of one plan to develop one weir (not even a proper dam). There’s also a commitment to a feasibility study which will determine whether or not there should or shouldn’t be a plan to build some extra capacity into an existing dam (Snowy Hydro).

      But you can get an idea from that of the glacial pace at which large infrastructure such as dams advances here and how underwhelming the outcomes are by comparison to the grand promises. It will be decades before a new hydro electricity generator will be completed, if ever.

      Meanwhile the cost of fully installed solar falls by 46% every 5 years.

    • RobertO

      Both wind and solar farms use about 1/10 (or less and can be rock mounted ) the concrete used in a Coal Power station (MW to MW) and after they are built until they are recycled they are CO2 free. Hydro uses more concrete but the life is 50 to 100 years long. At this time a “base” of a WTG will be reused for a new WTG and depending on the state of the base may be use four or even five times. Some may even last 150 years