As Plant Vogtle and others have just demonstrated, nuclear power isn’t as reliable as we might have thought. Mark Z. Jacobson says we can generate reliable power from wind, water, and sunlight alone. Will that work in Georgia?
Elsevier’s policy of charging for peer-reviewed articles from scientific journals is controversial, and some people find $19.95 prohibitive to access Mark Z. Jacobson and Mark A. Delucchi’s Providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power, Part I: Technologies, energy resources, quantities and areas of infrastructure, and materials from Energy Policy Volume 39, Issue 3, March 2011, Pages 1154-1169. Fortunately, the same authors wrote an earlier version for Scientific American, 26 October 2009, A Plan to Power 100 Percent of the Planet with Renewables: Wind, water and solar technologies can provide 100 percent of the world’s energy, eliminating all fossil fuels. Here’s how
A new infrastructure must provide energy on demand at least as reliably as the existing infrastructure. WWS technologies generally suffer less downtime than traditional sources. The average U.S. coal plant is offline 12.5 percent of the year for scheduled and unscheduled maintenance. Modern wind turbines have a down time of less than 2 percent on land and less than 5 percent at sea. Photovoltaic systems are also at less than 2 percent. Moreover, when an individual wind, solar or wave device is down, only a small fraction of production is affected; when a coal, nuclear or natural gas plant goes offline, a large chunk of generation is lost.Continue reading