Weather-driven characteristics of a reliable national renewable energy system

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Wednesday, 20 January 2010
Exhibit Hall B2 (GWCC)
Alexander E. MacDonald, OAR, Boulder, CO; and A. Alexander

A study was done to determine the weather-driven characteristics of a renewable energy system over the conterminous United States. An important issue addressed was whether a "primary" renewable energy system, one which supplies most of the national electric power needs, would be reliable enough to depend on. Three years worth of data was collected on a 13 km resolution grid, and used to estimate the available power and best geographic topology from three sources; photovoltaic, concentrated solar power and wind turbines. The optimized national system was determined using a variational minimization analysis. We will present the geographic information of the optimized system for renewable energy, and discuss other aspects including reliability, storage, transmission network and cost.