7B.6 Weather-Driven Characteristics of a Reliable National Renewable Energy System

Thursday, 27 January 2011: 2:45 PM
4C-2 (Washington State Convention Center)
Alexander E. MacDonald, OAR, Boulder, CO; and A. Alexander

A study was done to determine the optimal renewable energy system over the conterminous United States using historic weather observations and land-use limitations. It is based on the projected renewable energy output that would be obtained given weather conditions over a three year period on a 13km resolution grid. Our minimization study looked for the lowest cost renewable energy system assuming that natural gas would be used to make up any shortfalls in electricity production from renewable resources and assessing a penalty for wasted over-production of electricity. It answers several questions, including just how much fossil fuel would actually be required as back-up to meet the projected U.S. electricity demands in 2020 and the impact of a carbon tax. We will discuss our minimization analysis and results, including the breakdown of the location and number of wind turbines, solar photovoltaic, and concentrating solar plants that should be installed.
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