Managing a 100-percent renewable grid, without batteries

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(credit: US DOE ) Stanford researcher Mark Jacobson likes to take current thinking about renewable energy and supersize it. Rather than aiming for 50 percent renewables, like California is , he has analyzed what it would take for each of the 50 states to go fully renewable . It would apparently involve so many offshore wind turbines that hurricanes headed toward the States would be suppressed. Now, he and a few collaborators are back with a more detailed look at how to manage the grid stability issues that come with large amounts of intermittent generators, like photovoltaic panes and wind turbines. Normally, issues of intermittency are expected to be handled by fossil fuel power and batteries. But the new analysis suggests we don’t need any of that—and we don’t need biofuels or nuclear, either. Instead, it suggests we could manage a 100-percent renewable grid through a combination of hydrogen production and heat storage. None of this is entirely new. People have been talking about generating hydrogen from renewable energy for years—with a fuel cell, it can be used to power cars or generate electricity as needed. And the paper cites an existing community that’s already using solar energy to generate heat that’s stored under ground. But, as with Jacobson’s past analyses, they are taken to new scales here. Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Managing a 100-percent renewable grid, without batteries

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