According to a new study, wind and solar energy could power the grid 99.9% of the time by 2030. That’s less than 20 years away, and if combined with storage techniques and other energy sources in the event of an emergency, would cost about the same as electricity does today.
The University of Delaware and Delaware Technical Community College researchers used computer modeling to explore 28 billion combinations of renewables and storage mechanisms, testing each one with four years of weather and energy demand data. The results were pretty positive, revealing some findings that could prove to be very useful, particularly when it comes to storing excess supply on sunny or windy days.
When a surplus of renewable energy was generated, the model would fill storage and use the rest to replace natural gas for heating homes and businesses. It wasn’t until these tasks were completed that any excess, if available, went to waste. During hours that lacked the amount of energy to meet power needs, the model drew from storage. In the extremely rare occasion where no renewable OR stored power was available, fossil fuels kicked in.
The cost used for the study predictions was the price estimate for renewables in 2030, which is about half the price wind and solar cost today. Maintenance costs stayed about the same. Assuming we’re in a slightly better environmental spot by then than we are now, the results of all this clean energy could make a big cut in the rate the earth is warming.
Do you think we can get there by then, or is there still a long way to go once reality kicks in?
Image CC licensed by h080