The wind industry took part in the discussions but several of the conclusions contradicted the claims from the wind industry for its projected savings on costs and emissions from wind. There are five main areas of concern with wind and solar that emerged from the symposium (pasted below):
* Emissions: While renewables can generate emissions-free electricity, the limited ability to store electricity, forecast renewable generation, and control the availability of intermittent renewables forces the rest of the electric power system to adapt with less efficient ramping and cycling operations. These operations potentially reduce the emissions benefits of renewables.
* Unintended consequences: Many power systems operate under mandated renewable portfolio standards that change existing market structures. The combination of mandates, markets, and physical system requirements present technological, economic, and policy-related integration challenges with unintended consequences to system planners and market participants. For example, mandates requiring renewable dispatch may increase the total system cost of generating electricity.
* Future generation mix: What does a well-adapted generation mix look like? How many gas peaking units and baseload plants does this mix require? What types of regulatory support are needed for units that contribute to reliability, but would likely have low-utilization rates? How will this generation be compensated? What regulatory structures are required to ensure adequate compensation? Spot prices may decline in the short term due to the fuel cost of renewables, but will this lead to an economically efficient generation mix in the long term?
* Electricity markets: The electricity market generally dispatches generation on a least-cost basis. Should the market treat renewables as any other generator, subject to scheduling penalties? For example, currently, renewable generators self-schedule their generation by declaring how much electricity they expect to generate in the next hour. The system operator takes these self-schedules into account when deciding which other plants to dispatch. If wind generators schedule themselves for 100 megawatts per hour (MWh) of electricity generation in the next hour, but are only able to generate 80 MWh, should the operator require that they purchase the remaining 20 MWh in the open market? Or, should the operator allow wind generators to exist independent from all, or a subset, of economic signals? Is priority dispatch justified?
* Regulation: Traditional regulations of transmission, business models, cost allocations, and planning criteria may not properly address the needs of renewables. The current regulatory system encourages cost reduction and reliability, not innovation. This may be inadequate to incentivize the development of the new transmission and generation technologies required to fully enable large-scale renewable generation.
Taking a resource level view, a Carnegie Mellon University study assumes that 3 MW of [natural gas combined cycle] will be required for every 4 MW of wind.
Nextbigfuture – The World Nuclear Association has an update of the nuclear reactors that are starting (or restarting after complete overhauls) from 2012 through 2017 There are 46 reactors that are scheduled to start from 2012 to 2014.
Nextbigfuture – Kevin Jianjun Tu is a senior associate in the Carnegie Energy and Climate Program, where he leads Carnegie’s work on China’s energy and climate policies. He also worked in China 1995-2001 in large China natural gas and petroleum companies. His analysis is that China should go slow on approving new nuclear reactors.
China’s 2020 nuclear target is widely expected to fall to 60 to 70 gigawatts (GW). While China’s nuclear advocacy groups are still actively lobbying the government to set the 2020 nuclear target as high as 80 GW.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.