Hurdles to integrating a variable supply of renewable energy into power grids are lower than most experts think.
Variable energy sources such as wind and solar power could provide 19–63% of required electricity in many countries, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). This upbeat view contrasts with what many experts have said to date: that congested power grids and rigid markets make it difficult to integrate renewable sources of energy into our existing electricity supplies.
An IEA report, Harnessing Variable Renewables: a Guide to the Balancing Challenge, released today [2011-05-24], assesses eight major industrialized countries or economic zones. It concludes that variable renewable energy (VRE) such as wind and solar power could provide 19% of Japan‘s electricity and 63% of Denmark‘s. The feasible contribution of VRE for Canada, Mexico, the Nordic region, Spain and Portugal, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and the United States ranges between these two figures.
“Those who assert that large shares of variable supply represent an insurmountable, additional challenge to power-system operation may be looking with too narrow a gaze,” says the report. …
Barbara Casassus, Nature News
Click here to download the PDF report from the IEA (Single user €80)