BLOG: Four ways to overcome uncertainty in renewables
As prices continue to fall, the potential for renewables is only really limited by uncertainty due to the power supply being largely dependent on the changing weather. In his blog for GE, Cédric Philibert, senior analyst from International Energy Agency (IEA, pictured above), shares four measures that can tame its volatile nature.
Renewable energy has shaken up the power landscape in a brilliant way. More than 100,000 MW of global capacity was installed last year alone, and its pricing is becoming far more competitive against fossil fuels. Indeed, as prices continue to fall, the potential for renewables is only really limited by uncertainty due to the power supply being largely dependent on the changing weather.
This would paint a rather worrying picture for the future viability of renewables, if it weren’t for the fact that there are legitimate measures being taken to tame its volatile nature.
Today, I’d like to point out four ways that are being used to enable a steadier power supply from renewable energy resources.
Aside from the technological complexity, energy storage is, in theory, accomplished through a simple and easy mechanism - on a sunny or windy day, energy storage systems stock the excessive energy supply and release it when demand is high.
Presently this back-up capacity is largely supported by one storage method, pumped hydro, representing 99% of the energy storage capacity in the world - no other means of storage operates on such a large scale.
But this may well change in the coming years as cost savings can be achieved through the smart use of various energy storage technologies. For example, high capacity grid scale energy storage batteries are being implemented that are able to manage the variability of the renewable power contributions to the grid and regulate grid frequency.
Taking a Holistic View of Regional Power Systems
Another way to stabilize power output is to look at all the power systems in a region as a whole, continuously building pieces complementing and therefore strengthening the entire power network...
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