Switzerland-based researchers Hannes Kunz and Stephen Balogh provide an important analysis of the inherent mismatch between renewable energy sources and the energy appetite of existing societies. Among their findings:
For an aggregate of stock driven generation tech nologies (like all natural gas, coal and nuclear in any given country), unplanned variability is close to zero (fluctuations come from unexpected outages of single plants), while for solar and wind, all outputs between 0% and 100% of nameplate capacity are possible and realistic. Additionally, these sources have a very low average output relative to their maximum capacity, probably between 11-16% for solar in aggregate for a country, and about 15-26% for wind (in aggregate, not for individual turbines). This is one of the biggest challenges with renewable technologies, that they only produce a low average of their maximum capacity. This means two things: a lot of generating capacity is required to get the same average output when compared to other sources, and inversely, when production is good, a lot of power becomes available at once.
We find it very difficult to ignore the fact that all promoted renewable sources currently face and pose significant challenges to the stability of future electricity. So far, many of the planned additions seem almost irrelevant as they add high cost for very little benefit….for a very large investment, we ultimately get very little in return.
Not exactly the message we’re hearing from the powers-that-be, is it?