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Cost and Emissions Implications of Coupling Wind and Solar Power

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DOI: 10.4236/sgre.2012.34041    4,996 Downloads   7,619 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

We assess the implications on long-run average energy production costs and emissions of CO2 and some criteria pollutants from coupling wind, solar and natural gas generation sources. We utilize five-minute meteorological data from a US location that has been estimated to have both high-quality wind and solar resources, to simulate production of a coupled generation system that produces a constant amount of electric energy. The natural gas turbine is utilized to provide fill-in energy for the coupled wind/solar system, and is compared to a base case where the gas turbine produces a constant power output. We assess the impacts on variability of coupled wind and solar over multiple time scales, and compare this variability with regional demand in a nearby load center, and find that coupling wind and solar does decrease variability of output. The cost analysis found that wind energy with gas back-up has a lower levelized cost of energy than using gas energy alone, resulting in production savings. Adding solar energy to the coupled system increases levelized cost of energy production; this cost is not made up by any reductions in emissions costs.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

S. Blumsack and K. Richardson, "Cost and Emissions Implications of Coupling Wind and Solar Power," Smart Grid and Renewable Energy, Vol. 3 No. 4, 2012, pp. 308-315. doi: 10.4236/sgre.2012.34041.

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