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Title: The intermittency of wind, solar, and renewable electricity generators: Technical barrier or rhetorical excuse?
Authors: Sovacool, B.K. 
Keywords: Electric utility industry
Energy policy
Renewable energy
Solar photovoltaics (PV)
Wind turbines
Issue Date: 2009
Citation: Sovacool, B.K. (2009). The intermittency of wind, solar, and renewable electricity generators: Technical barrier or rhetorical excuse?. Utilities Policy 17 (3-4) : 288-296. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: A consensus has long existed within the electric utility sector of the United States that renewable electricity generators such as wind and solar are unreliable and intermittent to a degree that they will never be able to contribute significantly to electric utility supply or provide baseload power. This paper asks three interconnected questions:1.What do energy experts really think about renewables in the United States?2.To what degree are conventional baseload units reliable?3.Is intermittency a justifiable reason to reject renewable electricity resources?To provide at least a few answers, the author conducted 62 formal, semi-structured interviews at 45 different institutions including electric utilities, regulatory agencies, interest groups, energy systems manufacturers, nonprofit organizations, energy consulting firms, universities, national laboratories, and state institutions in the United States. In addition, an extensive literature review of government reports, technical briefs, and journal articles was conducted to understand how other countries have dealt with (or failed to deal with) the intermittent nature of renewable resources around the world. It was concluded that the intermittency of renewables can be predicted, managed, and mitigated, and that the current technical barriers are mainly due to the social, political, and practical inertia of the traditional electricity generation system. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Source Title: Utilities Policy
ISSN: 09571787
DOI: 10.1016/j.jup.2008.07.001
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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