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Dominion Resources, Inc. Message Board

  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Sep 26, 2013 9:57 AM Flag

    More Wind & Solar Can Reduce Utility Costs and Emissions

    More Wind & Solar Can Reduce Utility Costs and Emissions

    By Andrew Burger · Comments (0) · Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

    Those opposed to spurring development and adoption of renewable solar and wind energy resources continually assert that their intermittent nature not only reduces grid reliability and raises the cost of electricity, but negates the carbon and greenhouse gas emissions reductions that contribute so greatly to their rapid adoption in the first place.

    While it’s true that bringing greater amounts of solar and wind-generated electricity on grids means utilities have to cycle more frequently – ramp down and ramp up or stop and start – fossil fuel generators to ensure a smooth, reliable flow of electricity, a study by the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) shows that the carbon emissions that result from cycling are negligible – less than 0.2% – of the carbon reductions realized by generating electricity from the sun and winds.

    Not only that, but the research revealed that bringing “high levels of wind and solar power [on to the grid] would reduce fossil fuel costs by approximately $7 billion per year across the West, while incurring cycling costs of $35 million to $157 million per year.” That amounts to an increase in operations and maintenance costs of only $0.47-$1.28 per megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity generation for the average fossil fuel power plant, according to a September 24 NREL press release.

    How can this be? The explanation lies in the fossil fuel costs utilities avoid by making greater use of solar and wind energy generation.

    Avoiding fossil fuel costs, and pollution

    According to Debra Law, the project manager for NREL’s study,

    “Grid operators have always cycled power plants to accommodate fluctuations in electricity demand as well as abrupt outages at conventional power plants, and grid operators use the same tool to accommodate high levels of wind and solar generation.

    “Increased cycling to accommodate high leve

 
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