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Countries around the world have agreed to set common climate change targets. Such a goal requires rapid (80% to 100%) carbonation.
What is the best way to get enough carbon dioxide? In my previous post I summarized the heated debate on this topic. Let’s take a quick look.
We know that deep emissions of carbon dioxide involve large amounts of electricity. When we take carbon out of the electricity sector, we take it out of other energy services like transport and heating. .
There are many different sources of carbon-free electricity, the most common being solar and wind. They come according to their plan. They mean “failure to deliver.” Network operators cannot turn them on as needed. Balancing the variability of solar and wind (both short-term and long-term) grid operators need deliverable carbon-free resources.
The deep fragmentation of the electricity sector presents two challenges: rapidly increasing the amount of variable renewable energy (VRE) in the system and promoting carbon-free distribution resources that can balance VRE and regulate reliability.
Two major potential sources of deliverable carbon-free energy are carbon capture and storage (CCS) and nuclear and fossil fuels. Suffice it to say, different people will object to one or both of these sources for different reasons.
The question is, can VRE be regulated in the deep carbon dioxide network without them? Do our other deliverable balance options add enough value?
This is the crux of the 100% renewable energy debate: Should (or should) the grid be decarbonised without nuclear and CCS?
In this post, I will focus on three articles that examine the topic. Try to be upfront. I am looking for transparency and flexibility. That will be fun!
In 2017, two papers widely circulated among energy enthusiasts cast doubt on the 100% renewable energy goal.
One is a literature review of materials published by the Energy Innovation Reform Project (EIRP) by Jesse Jenkins and Samuel Ternstrom. He looked at several studies on deep carbon emissions in the power sector and tried to draw some lessons.
It boasts a “comprehensive overview of the feasibility of a 100% renewable energy system”. It is about B.P. Heard B.V. Brooke, T.M.L. Wigley and C.J.A. It should be noted that Bradshaw is a proponent of nuclear energy.
Jenkins and Ternstrom compiled 30 studies of deep carbon emissions since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its most comprehensive report since 2014. The studies focus on carbon emissions at different scales, from regional to global, and use different methods, so it’s not easy to compare apples to apples, but there are some common themes.
Emissions reduction: Models that optimize the cheapest carbon electricity paths do not prioritize nuclear and CCS – they are generally cheaper than without them.
At the very least, today’s models agree that “multi-source low CO2 diversification” adds a cost-effective path to deep decarbonization with 100% renewables. This is especially true when the private renewable alternative costs 60% or 80% more than CO2.
Again, it’s all about balancing the VRE. The easiest way to do this is with a fast and flexible natural gas plant. But carbon dioxide emissions from large gas plants cannot exceed 60%. 80 percent or more means most of these plants are closed or decommissioned. So you need other balanced options.
One is to expand the network with new transmission lines that connect VREs to a larger geographic area and reduce diversity. (The wind is always blowing somewhere.) Deep decarbonization studies envision a high-voltage superelectric grid connecting all regions of the United States. (Needless to say, there is no such thing, and it can be quite expensive.)
Another way to balance VRE is through a distribution supply (power plant). Demand delivery (including “demand management”) can augment deliverable carbon-free resources, including energy storage, to shift energy demand during certain parts of the day or week. It acts as supply (source of energy) and demand (method). to absorb).
Both energy savings and demand management are improved when adjusting to short-term (minute-to-minute, hourly, or daily) changes in VRE.
However, there are also seasonal and decadal variations in monthly climate. In worst-case scenarios, the system must be prepared to handle both high cloud cover and long periods of low pressure. This adds a lot of backup.
We don’t have that much energy storage. Consider pumped water, currently the largest and best developed form of long-term energy storage. The EIRP document shows that the top 10 US hydroelectric facilities together “could supply 43 minutes of average US electricity demand”.
Currently, the only low carbon resources that can support anything of this scale are hydro, nuclear and (hidden) CCS.
So if you take nuclear and CCS off the table, the amount that can be emitted goes down. This means that other deliverable resources are needed to some extent to compensate – and we need them.
Even with so many new releases, a ton of new storage space is still needed. Here is a comparison chart.
Currently, the average American utility has about an hour of energy storage capacity. 15 weeks is only six days and 23 hours.
When the carbonation is 80% and above, it becomes more expensive. At least for today’s models, it’s very difficult to squeeze out every last bit of carbon without letting the big drives deliver.
Therefore, models that optimize the lowest cost path almost always include nuclear and CCS.
Of the 30 papers reviewed here, it is noteworthy that the only deep carbon emission scenario that does not include a significant contribution from nuclear biofuel hydropower and/or CCS excludes these sources from consideration. “
In short: Most of today’s models place a high value on large-scale renewable energy sources for deep decarbonization, and without nuclear and CCS it is difficult to collect enough distributed energy sources.
The second review uses a slightly narrower and more rigorous approach. It convincingly examines 24 stories about 100 percent renewable energy. They are then evaluated according to four possible criteria.
(1) satisfaction of basic energy needs; (2) dealing with climate change in class; Satisfy the simulated supply in a time frame of half an hour and five minutes. (iii) identify necessary shipping and distribution requirements; (4) provides necessary additional services;
In summary, none of the studies passed this feasibility test. The highest score is four out of a possible seven.
The authors state that “based on individual and combined evidence; The authors conclude that the feasibility case [100 percent renewable energy] is insufficient to formulate responsible policies aimed at tackling climate change.
Note, however, that these are very difficult metrics: researchers can model entire power systems to cope with short- and long-term climate change. meeting demand that does not differ materially from original estimates; The technology has already been demonstrated at scale to reliably provide all required services.
The confidence to start planning for long-term decarbonisation. Any new system must demonstrate in advance that it is fully prepared to replace today’s system. It will be difficult to change the whole system.
(Nuclear power advocates may argue that renewable energy advocates should tighten feasibility criteria and maintain feasibility standards while maintaining as much connectivity as possible with existing systems.)
For more on this trend, see “A Critical Review of Global Carbon Emissions – What Do They Tell Us About the Potential?” Since 2014, Learn more here.
The question is how much what today’s models tell us should constrain our current decision making in the distant future.
The third document is the 2017 Global Renewable Energy Futures (GFR) Report from the global renewable energy group REN21. In it, they interviewed “114 renowned energy experts from around the world about the opportunities and challenges of achieving a 100% renewable energy future.”
71 percent agreed that 100 percent renewable energy was “sensible and practical.” But the models seem to agree that 100 percent renewable energy is unrealistic. What gives?
It pays to be careful with literature reviews. Although they are generally more reliable than individual studies, they are interpretive exercises colored by the assumptions of their authors. and
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