Solar, wind could save the US $7 billion in fossil-fuel costs

25. September 2013 | Global PV markets, Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends, Investor news, Top News | By:  Ian Clover

Adding wind and solar power to the grid is more cost-effective than switching fossil-fueled power plants on and off to make up for the intermittent nature of renewable energy, says the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), located in Colorado, evaluated the positive scenario wrought by connecting renewable power to the grid.

As much as $7 billion could be saved if the high levels of wind and solar power generated in the U.S. were incorporated into the country’s electricity grid, according to research by the NREL.

In a statement released on Tuesday by the Colorado-based research arm of the U.S. Energy Department, they argued that it costs more to switch fossil-fueled power stations on and off in response to the intermittent nature of renewable energy than it would do to simply add wind and solar power to the grid.

Cycling between coal and gas plants saves anything from $35 million to $157 million, the NREL says, but those savings would shoot up to $7 billion if renewable sources were properly integrated into that system.

"Avoided fuel costs are far greater than the increased cycling costs for fossil-fueled plants," said Debra Lew, the NREL researcher who led the study, which ran evaluated scenarios whereby as much as one-third of the U.S. grid’s total electricity came from solar and wind sources.

Their findings revealed that over 4 MWh of renewable power displace 1 MWh of coal power, and 3 MWh of gas.

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Renee\' Lawson from Winston-Salem |

Tuesday, 01.10.2013 20:22

With 61% of energy wasted in the US, work continues to try to improve efficiency and diminish power loss. With the mass of langoleers (electric line towers) that are already in place across the country, why not add solar panels to those towers to bolster the energy as it travels along the wires? For that matter, wind turbines could also be added to the towers. Eventually, with enough pv's and turbines, they'll be able to drive the power grid and the power plants will eventually become the backup.

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