Skip to comments.The U.S. Could Switch to Mostly Renewable Energy, No Batteries Needed
Posted on 02/07/2016 8:37:18 AM PST by Lorianne
The United States could lower carbon emissions from electricity generation by as much as 78 percent without having to develop any new technologies or use costly batteries, a new study suggests. Thereâs a catch, though. The country would have to build a new national transmission network so that states could share energy.
âOur idea was if we had a national âinterstate highway for electronsâ we could move the power around as it was needed, and we could put the wind and solar plants in the very best places,â says study co-author Alexander MacDonald.
Several years ago, MacDonald was curious about claims that there was no technology available that could mitigate carbon dioxide emissions without doubling or tripling the cost of electricity. When he investigated the issue, he discovered that the studies behind the claims did not incorporate the countryâs variable weather very well.
One of the big issues with wind and solar power is that their availability is dependent upon the weather. Solar is only available on sunny days, not during storms or at night. Wind turbines donât work when the wind doesnât blow enoughâor when it blows too much. Because of this, some studies have argued that these technologies are only viable if large-capacity batteries are available to store energy from these sources to use when they arenât working. That would raise the cost of electricity well beyond todayâs prices.
The key to this future would be the development of a system for transferring electricity across the country, so that a windy day in North Dakota could power a cloudy, calm day in New York. This would not only require new agreements between statesâTexas, for instance, has its own separate power gridâbut also an upgrade to the transmission lines that move electrons from one place to another.
(Excerpt) Read more at smithsonianmag.com ...
Also, I didn't see in the article any discussion of dissipation of energy during long distance transmission.
Yes, let’s nationalize the electric grid. Because EVERYTHING the feds do works out perfectly.
A better idea: let's require states to be self sufficient in electrical generation, and let Massachusetts freeze in the dark.
Unscientific lunacy. Sure it maybe could be done but rates would put electricity out of reach for most Americans. Think $0.35-.50/kwh.
Texas has had brownouts when the wind stopped blowing in the summer.
I smell B.S. (not you Lorianne)
That’s the problem I see with this. Why would North Dakotans, for example, agree to putting up God knows how many solar collectors if the energy was basically nationalized and spread out to all the States ... assuming all of this is feasible technically?
And rationing. NO JUICE FOR YOU!
There is no doubt any elec grids we have could likely be run more or designed more efficiently, but I take issue with the great need to get off fossil fuels, which in the US, have become far more efficient and cleaner. Wind and solar are not economical without subsidies.
It’s clearly time to start generating one’s own electricity. The gov’t is clearly no longer there to help.
Absolutely. There is no replacement for fossil fuels. Just another loony lib writing for the ignorant and uneducated.
I smell some D grade humanities majors there.
Not going to happen.
Someone really was an enemy of math at the Smithsonian.
Left-wing, poorly written screed. Subscribe or read to lose brain cells ... Just more of the constant barrage of left-wing agenda items which fill its glossy pages. If you watch PBS or listen to NPR, this is the magazine for you.
Those items no obviously part of the agenda are so poorly written that they end up either as meaningless drivel about what looks like an interesting subject, or wander all over the subject without ever pinning the subject down.
Also, I didn’t see in the article any discussion of dissipation of energy during long distance transmission.
A friend of mine, head of the local college physics department, told me that our first priority should be superconductors. I asked why it wasn’t. Because buried superconducting transmission lines aren’t a great photo op for politicians like windmills and solar panel farms he said.
it seems so real
like she said
“Sweet dreams of
you every night I go through”
This already exists. The national grid crosses state boundaries and often power generated in one state is used in another. This author is ignorant of the subject matter. As for doing without fossil fuels, this works only if you ignore math entirely.
Smithsonian = Liberal non thinkers.
Hey--look at the stunning high speed rail systems we've built in Minneapolis, Seattle and L.A.!
Look at our government's wise investments in companies like Solyndra and Abound Solar!
Look at the life-saving miracle of Obamacare! And the V.A.! Look at how well our nation's military heroes are treated!
Look at Common Core, look at the efficiencies of the Education Department, Energy Department, the E.P.A. and the TSA---for God's sake, man, look at our safety and peace of mind under the TSA!
I tell ya...the cynicism around here...sometimes it just gets to be too much!
(would be loling if I weren't too busy coling)
I was thinking just that....kinda like retirement funding, food stores, water, etc...stay far, far away from FEDS controlling your life
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