The article below from Kallanish Energy reports on recent research that shows that solar and wind power desperately needs fossil fuel – NatGas in order to provide dependable solar and wind power.
It’s good to read and heed if you are a proponent of renewables.
Anti-fracking, pro-renewable energy activists can’t grow solar or wind power without fossil fuel backup, according to a new working study in the National Bureau of Economic Research.
A trio of economists, led by Elena Verdolini of the Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change and the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in Milan, Italy, along with colleagues David Popp from Syracuse University and Francesco Vona of the French Economic Observatory, found natural gas-fired power generation complements – enables — deployment of renewable energy generation.
Bottom line: To be against fracking is to be against renewable energy, Kallanish Energy finds.
In their survey of 26 Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, the economists found natural gas and renewable power generation increase in nearly a one-to-one ratio.
The reason is because intermittent solar and wind energy cannot be stably integrated into the power grid unless there is a back-up source of electricity, when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind fails to blow.
The researchers state 8 megawatts (MW) of back-up capacity are required for any 10 MW of wind capacity added to the grid.
They cite other research that suggests the ability to store solar electricity for 20 hours is necessary for photovoltaic power to work as a base-load resource. Since no such massive storage technology currently exists, only fast-reacting fossil fuel power generation can fill in the gap.
The researchers also point out projections of falling renewable technologies costs fail to take into account the costs of constructing and maintaining fast reacting fossil fuel (chiefly natural gas) back-up power.
“The estimated indirect costs of renewables are at least an order of magnitude greater than those associated with dispatchable fossil-fuel technologies,” the study’s authors state.
“If you have an electric car, you don’t need a diesel car in your garage sitting there. But in the case of renewables, it’s different, because if you have renewable electricity and that fails, then you need the fast acting gas sitting in your garage, so to speak,” Verdolini told the Washington Post.