100% Renewable Energy in North America and the Role of Solar Photovoltaics

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Conference: 32nd EU PVSEC, At Munich
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Abstract
Renewable energy (RE) has been already viewed as a minor contributor in the final energy mix of North America due to cost and intermittency constraints. However, recent dramatic cost reductions and new initiatives using RE, particularly solar PV and wind energy, as a main energy source for the future energy mix of the world pave the way for enabling this source of energy to become cost competitive and beneficial in comparison to fossil fuels. Other alternatives such as nuclear energy and coal-fired power plants with carbon capture and storage (CCS) cannot play an important role in the future of energy system, mainly due to safety and economic constraints for these technologies. Phasing out nuclear and fossil fuels is still under discussion, however the 'net zero' greenhouse gas emissions agreed at COP21 in Paris clearly guides the pathway towards sustainability. Consequently, RE would be the only trustable energy source towards a clean and sustainable world. In this study, an hourly resolved model has been developed based on linear optimization of energy system parameters under given constraints with a bright perspective of RE power generation and demand for North America. The geographical, technical and economic potential of different types of RE resources in North America, including wind energy, solar PV, hydro, geothermal and biomass energy sources enable the option to build a Super Grid connection between different North American regions' energy resources to achieve synergy effects and make a 100% RE supply possible. The North American region, including the US, Canada and Mexico in this paper, is divided into 20 sub-regions based on their population, demand, area and electricity grid structure. These sub-regions are interconnected by high voltage direct current (HVDC) power lines. The main objective of this paper is to assume a 100% RE-based system for North America in 2030 and to evaluate its results from different perspectives. Four scenarios have been evaluated according to different HVDC transmission grid development levels, including a region-wide, country-wide, area-wide and integrated scenario. The levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) is found to be 63 €/MWhel in a decentralized scenario. However, it is observed that this amount decreases to 53 €/MWhel in a more centralized HVDC grid connected scenario. In the integrated scenario, which consists of industrial gas production and reverse osmosis water desalination demand, integration of new sectors provides the system with required flexibility and increases the efficiency of the usage of storage technologies. Therefore, the LCOE declines to 42 €/MWhel and the total electricity generation is decreased by around 6.6% in the energy system compared to the non-integrated sectors due to higher system efficiency enabled by more flexibility. The results clearly show that a 100% RE-based system is feasible and a real policy option.

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  • ... Other research aggregates the sub-regions, so that the world can be represented by 23 regions [37], or an integrated analysis for Europe-Eurasia-MENA [38] or the East Asian Super Grid [39], all in full hourly resolution and interconnected. The 9 major regions are: Europe [40], Eurasia [41], MENA [42], Sub-Saharan Africa [43], India/ SAARC [32], Northeast Asia [30], Southeast Asia and Pacific [44,45], North America [46] and South America [47,48]. Solar PV is represented in the model by ground-mounted optimally tilted and single-axis tracking PV power plants and prosumer rooftop systems, enhanced by batteries in the cases of financial attractiveness for the prosumers. ...
    ... More detailed results are shown for all 145 sub-regions globally aggregated to the nine major regions for Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia and India/SAARC (Fig. 4), Europe and Eurasia (Fig. 5), MENA and Sub-Saharan Africa (Fig. 6) and North America and South America (Fig. 7). Detailed information on all 145 sub-regions can be found in the respective publications [30,32,[40][41][42][43][44][45][46][47][48]. ...
    ... [42] and Sub-Saharan Africa (right) [43]. [46] and South America (bottom) [47,48]. ...
    Conference Paper
    The global energy system has to be transformed towards high levels of sustainability for executing the COP21 agreement. Solar PV offers excellent characteristics to play a major role for this energy transition. Key objective of this work is to investigate the role of PV for the global energy transition based on respective scenarios and a newly introduced energy transition model developed by the authors at the Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT). The available energy transition scenarios have no consensus view on the future role of PV, but a progressive group of scenarios present results of a fast growth of installed PV capacities and a high energy supply share of solar energy to the total primary energy demand in the world in the decades to come. These progressive energy transition scenarios can be confirmed by the LUT Energy system model. The model derives total installed solar PV capacity requirements of 7.1 – 9.1 TWp for today's electricity sector and 27.4 TWp for the entire energy system in the mid-term (year 2030 assumptions set as reference). The long-term capacity is expected to be 42 TWp and due to the ongoing cost reduction of PV and battery technologies, this value is found to be the lower limit for the installed capacities. The cost reductions are taken into account for the year 2030, but are expected to further proceed beyond this reference year. Solar PV electricity is expected to be the largest, least cost and most relevant source of energy in the mid-to long-term for the global energy supply.
  • ... Other research aggregates the sub-regions, so that an integrated analysis can be carried out for Europe-Eurasia-MENA [39] and East Asia [40], all in full hourly resolution and interconnected. The nine major world regions are: Europe [41], Eurasia [42], Middle East Northern Africa (MENA) [43], Sub-Saharan Africa [44], India/SAARC [33], Northeast Asia [30], Southeast Asia and the Pacific Rim [40,45], North America [46] and South America [47]. Solar PV is represented in the model by groundmounted optimally tilted and single-axis tracking PV power plants and prosumer rooftop systems, enhanced by batteries in the cases of financial attractiveness for the prosumers. ...
    ... Some scenarios give some insights, but detailed information is missing for all scenarios. Nevertheless, the LUT Energy system model delivers detailed cost results, which are presented in summary in Table III and in more detail in the respective publications for the nine major world regions [30,33,[40][41][42][43][44][45][46][47]. One of the most interesting results of the 100% RE system modelling with 2030 assumptions is the low cost of the energy systems around the world. ...
    ... The key results of the LUT Energy system modelling are a PV capacity demand of 7. Data are based on [30,33,[40][41][42][43][44][45][46][47] and visualised in more detail in Figures 3-7, with updated results for Northeast Asia based on latest assumptions for all major world regions. Superscripts: * integrated scenario, supply share and ** annualised costs. ...
    Article
    The global energy system has to be transformed towards high levels of sustainability in order to comply with the COP21 agreement. Solar photovoltaic (PV) offers excellent characteristics to play a major role in this energy transition. The key objective of this work is to investigate the role of PV in the global energy transition based on respective scenarios and a newly introduced energy transition model developed by the authors. A progressive group of energy transition scenarios present results of a fast growth of installed PV capacities and a high energy supply share of solar energy to the total primary energy demand in the world in the decades to come. These progressive energy transition scenarios can be confirmed. For the very first time, a full hourly modelling for an entire year is performed for the world, subdivided in 145 sub-regions, which is required to reflect the intermittent character of the future energy system. The model derives total installed solar PV capacity requirements of 7.1–9.1 TWp for the electricity sector (as of the year 2015) and 27.4 TWp for the entire energy system in the mid-term. The long-term capacity is expected to be 42 TWp and, because of the ongoing cost reduction of PV and battery technologies, this value is found to be the lower limit for the installed capacities. Solar PV electricity is expected to be the largest, least cost and most relevant source of energy in the mid-term to long-term for the global energy supply.
  • ... The construction of photovoltaic cells is the only device or structures that is needed to obtain unlimited energy. This causes a huge impact to a country's economy as it allows the country to have its own energy source and a lot of money can be saved by reducing the import of oil and gas [22][23]. As compared to photovoltaics, wind energy is better developed in the pass decades. ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Geopolitical risks will less affect the oil supply in the United States due to its stability and widespread oil sectors since 1970s. Nevertheless, energy prosperity in the United States appears differently in relation to a fuller period for conventional energy export states where geopolitical challenges have been intensified by monetary pressure and escalating energy demand in residential areas. The relationship between the United States and other energy export states will continue to change as the United States becomes more independent and non-OPEC resources become worthwhile especially in Western Hemisphere. With expansion of global economic growth, maintained multilateral relationship among countries and technological development are two prominent concerns to secure long-term energy supplies and to enable further exploration of new energy sources.
  • ... For example, in a 100% renewable simulation with wind and solar PV for Germany, 45 days of full-load electricity supply capacity (based on average annual demand) was required (Palzer and Henning 2014, Fig. 3.4). In a study encompassing Canada, USA and Mexico, Aghahosseini et al. (2016) found that around 14 days of supply capacity was required. Both of these studies assumed power-to-gas for inter-seasonal storage. ...
    Article
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    Solar photovoltaics (PV) is widely regarded as one of the most promising renewable energy technologies. Net energy analysis (NEA) is a tool to evaluate the energetic performance of all energy supply technologies, including solar PV. Results across studies can appear to diverge sharply, which leads to contestation of NEA’s relevance to energy transition feasibility assessment and contributes to ongoing uncertainty in relation to the critical issue of the sustainability of PV. This study explores how PV NEA approaches differ, including in relation to goal definitions, methodologies and boundaries of analysis. It focuses on two principal NEA metrics, energy return on investment (EROI) and energy payback time (EPBT). Here we show that most of the apparent divergence between studies is accounted for by six factors—life-cycle assessment methodology, age of the primary data, PV cell technology, the treatment of intermittency, equivalence of investment and output energy forms, and assumptions about real-world performance. The apparent divergence in findings between studies can often be traced back to different goal definitions. This study reviews the differing approaches and makes the case that NEA is important for assessing the role of PV in future energy systems, but that findings in the form of EROI or EPBT must be considered with specific reference to the details of the particular study context, and the research questions that it seeks to address. NEA findings in a particular context cannot definitively support general statements about EROI or EPBT of PV electricity in all contexts.
  • ... During our work we simulate optimal RE-based energy systems globally. The world is divided into 9 geographiceconomic major regions: Europe [1], Eurasia [2], Northwest Asia [3], Southwest Asia [4], Indian subcontinent [5], Middle East North Africa (MENA) [6], Sub-Saharan Africa, [7], North America [8] and South America [9], and for every region PV generation takes an important role in energy supply [10]. For each major region an optimal structure of a REbased energy system was defined using the LUT energy system model, an hourly dispatched linear optimization model for minimizing total energy system costs, which uses real weather data and a synthetized load, while taking specific aspects and given constraints into account. ...
    Conference Paper
    Need to transform the energy system towards 100% renewable generation is well understood and such a transformation has already started. However, this transformation will be full of challenges and there will be no standard solution for energy supply, every regional energy system will be specific, because of local specific climatic and geographical conditions and consumption patterns. Based on the two major energy sources all regions can be divided into two categories: PV and Wind energy based regions. Moreover, local conditions will not only influence the optimal generation mix, but also optimal storage capacities choice. In this work we observe a strong coupling between PV and short-term storage utilisation in all major regions in the world: in the PV generation based energy systems short-term storage utilisation is much higher than in wind-based systems. Finally, PV-based energy systems demand a significant capacity for short-term storage, the more the more PV generation takes place locally.
  • Chapter
    The EROI of electrical energy storage may be critical to the viability of electricity grids with high variable renewable energy penetration. However, there is no generally agreed upon methodology for incorporating storage into EROI analysis. Furthermore, there is large uncertainty in relation to the required storage scale (When discussing storage, it can be useful to distinguish between power capacity, measured in gigawatts (GW), and energy capacity, measured in gigawatt-hours (GWh). A pumped hydro storage facility that has turbines rated at 1 GW, and that contains sufficient water storage to run at full power for 10 h has energy storage capacity of 10 GWh.) in the energy modelling literature.
  • Article
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    The contribution from variable renewable energy (VRE) to electricity generation is projected to increase. At low penetration, intermittency can usually be accommodated at low cost. High-penetration VRE will displace conventional generation, and require increased grid flexibility, geographic and technology diversity, and the use of electrical storage. Energy return on investment (EROI) is a tool that gives greater weight to the principles of energetics over market prices, and may provide a long-term guide to prospective energy transitions. The EROI of electrical storage may be critical to the efficacy of high-penetration renewable scenarios. However, there is no generally agreed upon methodology for incorporating storage into EROI. In recent years, there have been important contributions to applying net-energy analysis to storage, including the development of storage-specific net-energy metrics. However, there remains uncertainty as to how to apply these metrics to practical systems to derive useful or predictive information. This paper will introduce a framework for evaluating storage at a system level. It introduces the surplus energy-storage synergy hypothesis as a general principle for exploring the role of storage. It is argued that the useful energy available to society is determined by both the net-energy of the energy source and the stored energy as stocks. This hypothesis is translated across to electricity systems with the use of electrical reliability indices to evaluate the value of storage. A case study applies the framework to a suite of VRE simulations. The case study was modelled as a limiting case of VRE plus storage, and is therefore not intended as a comprehensive cost-optimised solution to high-penetration VRE. A shift from an electrical system based mostly on energy stocks to one based mostly on natural flows is constrained by the quantity of storage required, and the quantity of VRE overbuild to charge the stores. The application of the framework shows that the value of electrical storage and overbuild exhibits a marked diminishing returns behaviour at rising VRE penetration and therefore the first units of storage are the most valuable. The framework is intended to stimulate further research into using EROI to better understand the role of VRE and storage in prospective energy transitions.
  • Presentation
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    Presentation on the occasion of the Sustainable Energy Forum and Exhibition (SEF-2016), Kiev, October 11, 2016.
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  • Article
    Power systems for South and Central America based on 100% renewable energy (RE) in the year 2030 were calculated for the first time using an hourly resolved energy model. The region was subdivided into 15 sub-regions. Four different scenarios were considered: three according to different high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission grid development levels (region, country, area-wide) and one integrated scenario that considers water desalination and industrial gas demand supplied by synthetic natural gas via power-togas (PtG). RE is not only able to cover 1813 TWh of estimated electricity demand of the area in 2030 but also able to generate the electricity needed to fulfil 3.9 billion m 3 of water desalination and 640 TWh LHV of synthetic natural gas demand. Existing hydro dams can be used as virtual batteries for solar and wind electricity storage, diminishing the role of storage technologies. The results for total levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) are decreased from 62 €/MWh for a highly decentralized to 56 €/MWh for a highly centralized grid scenario (currency value of the year 2015). For the integrated scenario, the levelized cost of gas (LCOG) and the leve-lized cost of water (LCOW) are 95 €/MWh LHV and 0.91 €/m 3 , respectively. A reduction of 8% in total cost and 5% in electricity generation was achieved when integrating desalination and power-to-gas into the system.
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    The installed capacity of photovoltaics (PV) is rising steadily. Most PV is installed in highly electrified countries as on-grid systems. Further, there is an increasing number of emerging markets that show high growth rates and a relevant installed PV base. However, reliable installation rates for PV are available only for a small number of countries. Not only in emerging markets, even for some developed countries exact numbers of cumulative PV installation are rarely available. For the end of 2015 IRENA reports 222,360 MWp of globally installed PV capacity, giving clear national specific data for 117 countries. IEA PVPS provides a number of 227,100 MWp installed by providing detailed data for 36 countries. This paper gives an overview of installed PV capacities for all countries in the world and incl based on the examination of publically accessible data. Furthermore, an analysis of the development of cumulative PV installations in recent years is given. Resulting from this evaluation, PV installations are localized in 196 countries, representing 230,046 MWp.
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    The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, comprised of 19 countries, is currently facing a serious challenge to supply their growing economies with secure, affordable and clean electricity. The MENA region holds a high share of proven crude oil and natural gas reserves in the world. Further, it is predicted to have increasing population growth, energy demand, urbanization and industrialization, each of which necessitates a comparable expansion of infrastructure, resulting in further increased energy demand. When planning this expansion, the effects of climate change, land use change and desertification must be taken into account. The MENA region has an excellent potential of renewable energy (RE) resources, particularly solar PV and wind energy, which can evolve to be the main future energy sources in this area. In addition, the costs of RE are expected to decrease relative to conventional energy sources, making a transition to RE across the region economically feasible. The main objective of this paper is to assume a 100% RE-based system for the MENA region in 2030 and to evaluate its results from different perspectives. Three scenarios have been evaluated according to different high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission grid development levels, including a region-wide, area-wide and integrated scenario. The levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) is found to be 61 €/MWhel in a decentralized scenario. However, it is observed that this amount decreases to 55 €/MWhel in a more centralized HVDC grid connected scenario. In the integrated scenario, which consists of industrial gas production and reverse osmosis water desalination demand, integration of new sectors provides the system with required flexibility and increases the efficiency of the usage of storage technologies. Therefore, the LCOE declines to 37 €/MWhel and the total electricity generation is decreased by 6% in the system compared to the non-integrated sectors. The results clearly show that a 100% RE-based system is feasible and a real policy option.
  • Conference Paper
    In this work, a 100% renewable energy (RE)-based energy system for the year 2030 for Southeast Asia and the Pacific Rim 1 , and Eurasia was prepared and evaluated and various impacts of adiabatic compressed air energy storage (A-CAES) were researched on an hourly resolution for one year. To overcome the intermittency of RE sources and guarantee regular supply of electricity, energy sources are complemented by five energy storage options: batteries, pumped hydro storage (PHS), thermal energy storage (TES), (A-CAES) and power-togas (PtG). In a region-wide scenario the energy system integration is within a sub-region of the individual large areas of Southeast Asia and Eurasia. In this scenario simulation were performed with and without A-CAES integration. For Southeast Asia and Eurasia, the integration of A-CAES has an impact on the share of a particular storage used and this depends on the seasonal variation in RE generation, the supply share of wind energy and demand in the individual areas. For the region-wide scenario for Southeast Asia (region with low seasonal variation and lower supply share of wind energy) the share of A-CAES output was 1.9% in comparison to Eurasia (region with high seasonal variation and a high supply share of wind energy) which had 28.6%. The other impact which was observed was the distribution of the storage technologies after A-CAES integration, since battery output and PtG output were decreased by 72.9% and 21.6% (Eurasia) and 5.5% and 1.6% (Southeast Asia), respectively. However, a large scale grid integration reduces the demand for A-CAES storage drastically and partly even to zero due to substitution by grids, which has been only observed for A-CAES, but not for batteries and PtG. The most valuable application for A-CAES seems to be in rather decentralized or nationwide energy system designs and as a well-adapted storage for the typical generation profiles of wind energy.
  • Article
    This study demonstrates how seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) plants, necessary to meet increasing future global water demand, can be powered solely through renewable energy. Hybrid PV–wind–battery and power-to-gas (PtG) power plants allow for optimal utilisation of the installed desalination capacity, resulting in water production costs competitive with that of existing fossil fuel powered SWRO plants. In this paper, we provide a global estimate of the water production cost for the 2030 desalination demand with renewable electricity generation costs for 2030 for an optimised local system configuration based on an hourly temporal and 0.45° × 0.45° spatial resolution. The SWRO desalination capacity required to meet the 2030 global water demand is estimated to about 2374 million m3/day. The levelised cost of water (LCOW), which includes water production, electricity, water transportation and water storage costs, for regions of desalination demand in 2030, is found to lie between 0.59 €/m3–2.81 €/m3, depending on renewable resource availability and cost of water transport to demand sites. The global system required to meet the 2030 global water demand is estimated to cost 9790 billion € of initial investments. It is possible to overcome the water supply limitations in a sustainable and financially competitive way.
  • Article
    We investigate the prospects of three zero-emission scenarios for achieving the target of limiting global mean temperature rise to 2 °C or below, and compare them with the business-as-usual (BAU) scenario involving no climate policy intervention. The “2100 zero” emissions scenario requires zero emissions after 2100 until 2150. The “350 ppm zero” emissions scenario entails zero emissions in the latter half of this century, which can be achieved by the cumulative emissions constraints of the Wigley–Richels–Edmonds (WRE) 350 from 2010 to 2150. Finally, the “net zero” scenario requires zero cumulative emissions from 2010 to 2150, allowing positive emissions over the coming several decades that would be balanced-out by negative emissions in the latter half of the century. The role of biomass energy carbon capture and storage (BECCS) with forested land is also assessed with these scenarios. The results indicate that the 2 °C target can be achieved in the “net zero” scenario, while the “350 ppm zero” scenario would result in a temperature rise of 2.4 °C. The “2100 zero” scenario achieved a 4.1 °C increase, while the BAU reached about 5.2 °C. BECCS contributed to achieving zero-emission requirements while providing a limited contribution to energy supply. The findings indicate substantial future challenges for the management of forested land.
  • Article
    In order to define a cost optimal 100% renewable energy system, an hourly resolved model has been created based on linear optimization of energy system parameters under given constrains. The model is comprised of five scenarios for 100% renewable energy power systems in North-East Asia with different high voltage direct current transmission grid development levels, including industrial gas demand and additional energy security. Renewables can supply enough energy to cover the estimated electricity and gas demands of the area in the year 2030 and deliver more than 2000 TW hth of heat on a cost competitive level of 84 €/MW hel for electricity. Further, this can be accomplished for a synthetic natural gas price at the 2013 Japanese liquefied natural gas import price level and at no additional generation costs for the available heat. The total area system cost could reach 69.4 €/MW hel, if only the electricity sector is taken into account. In this system about 20% of the energy is exchanged between the 13 regions, reflecting a rather decentralized character which is supplied 27% by stored energy. The major storage technologies are batteries for daily storage and power-to-gas for seasonal storage. Prosumers are likely to play a significant role due to favourable economics. A highly resilient energy system with very high energy security standards would increase the electricity cost by 23% to 85.6 €/MW hel. The results clearly show that a 100% renewable energy based system is feasible and lower in cost than nuclear energy and fossil carbon capture and storage alternatives.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation are a major cause of anthropogenic climate change. The deployment of wind and solar power reduces these emissions, but is subject to the variability of the weather. In the present study, we calculate the cost-optimized configuration of variable electrical power generators using weather data with high spatial (13-km) and temporal (60-min) resolution over the contiguous US. Our results show that when using future anticipated costs for wind and solar, carbon dioxide emissions from the US electricity sector can be reduced by up to 80% relative to 1990 levels, without an increase in the levelized cost of electricity. The reductions are possible with current technologies and without electrical storage. Wind and solar power increase their share of electricity production as the system grows to encompass large-scale weather patterns. This reduction in carbon emissions is achieved by moving away from a regionally divided electricity sector to a national system enabled by high-voltage direct-current transmission.
  • Book
    Presenting boundary conditions for the economic and environmental utilization of geothermal technology, this is the first book to provide basic knowledge on the topic in such detail. The editor is the coordinator of the European Geothermic Research Initiative, while the authors are experts for the various geological situations in Europe with high temperature reservoirs in shallow and deep horizons. With its perspectives for R&D in geothermic technology concluding each chapter, this ready reference will be of great value to scientists and decision-makers in research and politics, as well as those giving courses in petroleum engineering, for example.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    The state of Bihar in India has approximately 75 million people with no access to electricity. The government of India has pursued a policy of rural electrification through the provision of centralised coal-fired power which has been unable to resolve the low levels of electrification. Coal supply woes in India have led Indian companies to pursue new coal mines in Australia's Galilee Basin. The costs of these mining ventures will be high due to the mining infrastructure required and long transport distances to rural India. A high level analysis of mining, transport and power station investment to meet rural demand in Bihar shows that the absolute investment requirement using coal, especially coal sourced from Australia, as an expensive option. Pursuing electrification through village level, renewable energy micro-systems provides more flexibility. Pollution costs associated with coal-fired generation, employment benefits associated with many village implementations and a rural load unsupported by industry load, show a benefit associated with decentralised, renewable energy electrification.
  • Presentation
    Presentation at the LUT Doctorial School Conference in Lappeenranta at December 10, 2015.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    This study addresses the greatest concern facing the large-scale integration of wind, water, and solar (WWS) into a power grid: the high cost of avoiding load loss caused by WWS variability and uncertainty. It uses a new grid integration model and finds low-cost, no-load-loss, nonunique solutions to this problem on electrification of all US energy sectors (electricity, transportation, heating/cooling, and industry) while accounting for wind and solar time series data from a 3D global weather model that simulates extreme events and competition among wind turbines for available kinetic energy. Solutions are obtained by prioritizing storage for heat (in soil and water); cold (in ice and water); and electricity (in phase-change materials, pumped hydro, hydropower, and hydrogen), and using demand response. No natural gas, biofuels, nuclear power, or stationary batteries are needed. The resulting 2050-2055 US electricity social cost for a full system is much less than for fossil fuels. These results hold for many conditions, suggesting that low-cost, reliable 100% WWS systems should work many places worldwide.
  • Conference Paper
    Increasing ecological problems provoked by human activities, including the fossil fuel based energy sector, emerge the development of a renewable energy (RE) based system as the way to stop pollution and global warming but also to reduce total energy system cost. Small population density and availability of various types of RE resources in Eurasian regions including solar, wind, hydro, biomass and geothermal energy resources enables the very promising project of building a Super Grid connecting different Eurasian regions' energy resources to reach synergy effects and make a 100% RE supply possible. For every sub-region it is defined a cost-optimal distributed and centralized mix of energy technologies and storage options, optimal capacities and hourly generation. Charge and discharge profiles of storages are computed for regions interconnected by high-voltage direct current (HVDC) power lines. System cost and levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for each sub-region are computed. The results show that a 100% RE-based system is lower in cost than nuclear and fossil carbon capture and storage (CCS) alternatives.
  • Data
    Presentation on the occasion of the GÜNDER Workshop held as part of the 45th IEA PVPS Task 1 Meeting in Istanbul on October 27, 2015.
  • Conference Paper
    Photovoltaics (PV) is expected to become one of the cheapest forms of electricity generation during the next decades. The Levelised Cost of Electricity (LCOE) of PV has already reached grid parity with retail electricity in many markets and is approaching wholesale parity in some countries. In this paper, it is estimated that the PV LCOE in main European markets is going to decrease from 2015 to 2030 by about 45% and to 2050 by about 60%. The LCOE for utility-scale PV in Europe will be about 25-45 €/MWh in 2030 and about 15-30 €/MWh in 2050 depending on the location. The weighted average cost of capital (WACC) is the most important parameter together with the annual irradiation in the calculation of the PV LCOE. The uncertainty in capital and operational expenditure (CAPEX and OPEX) is relatively less important while the system lifetime and degradation have only a minor effect. The work for this paper has been carried out under the framework of the EU PV Technology Platform.
  • Research
    Poster on the occasion of the 2nd International Conference on Desalination using Membrane Technology in Singapore on July 26 - 29, 2015.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    This study presents roadmaps for each of the 50 United States to convert their all-purpose energy systems (for electricity, transportation, heating/cooling, and industry) to ones powered entirely by wind, water, and sunlight (WWS). The plans contemplate 80-85% of existing energy replaced by 2030 and 100% replaced by 2050. Conversion would reduce each state’s end-use power demand by a mean of ~39.3% with ~82.4% of this due to the efficiency of electrification and the rest due to end-use energy efficiency improvements. Year 2050 end-use U.S. all-purpose load would be met with ~30.9% onshore wind, ~19.1% offshore wind, ~30.7% utility-scale photovoltaics (PV), ~7.2% rooftop PV, ~7.3% concentrated solar power (CSP) with storage, ~1.25% geothermal power, ~0.37% wave power, ~0.14% tidal power, and ~3.01% hydroelectric power. Based on a parallel grid integration study, an additional 4.4% and 7.2% of power beyond that needed for annual loads would be supplied by CSP with storage and solar thermal for heat, respectively, for peaking and grid stability. Over all 50 states, converting would provide ~3.9 million 40-year construction jobs and ~2.0 million 40-year operation jobs for the energy facilities alone, the sum of which would outweigh the ~3.9 million jobs lost in the conventional energy sector. Converting would also eliminate ~62,000 (19,000-115,000) U.S. air pollution premature mortalities/yr today and ~46,000 (12,000-104,000) in 2050, avoiding ~$600 ($85-$2,400) bil./yr (2013 dollars) in 2050, equivalent to ~3.6 (0.5-14.3) percent of the 2014 U.S. gross domestic product. Converting would further eliminate ~$3.3 (1.9-7.1) tril./yr in 2050 global warming costs to the world due to U.S. emissions. These plans will result in each person in the U.S. in 2050 saving ~$260 (190-320)/yr in energy costs ($2013 dollars) and U.S. health and global climate costs per person decreasing by ~$1,500 (210-6,000)/yr and ~$8,300 (4,700-17,600)/yr, respectively. The new footprint over land required will be ~0.42% of U.S. land. The spacing area between wind turbines, which can be used for multiple purposes, will be ~1.6% of U.S. land. Thus, 100% conversions are technically and economically feasible with little downside. These roadmaps may therefore reduce social and political barriers to implementing clean-energy policies.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    To properly evaluate the prospects for commercially competitive battery electric vehicles (BEV) one must have accurate information on current and predicted cost of battery packs. The literature reveals that costs are coming down, but with large uncertainties on past, current and future costs of the dominating Li-ion technology. This paper presents an original systematic review, analysing over 80 different estimates reported 2007-2014 to systematically trace the costs of Li-ion battery packs for BEV manufacturers. We show that industry-wide cost estimates declined by approximately 14% annually between 2007 and 2014, from above US$1,000 per kWh to around US$410 per kWh, and that the cost of battery packs used by market-leading BEV manufacturers are even lower, at US$300 per kWh, and has declined by 8% annually. Learning rate, the cost reduction following a cumulative doubling of production, is found to be between 6 and 9%, in line with earlier studies on vehicle battery technology. We reveal that the costs of Li-ion battery packs continue to decline and that the costs among market leaders are much lower than previously reported. This has significant implications for the assumptions used when modelling future energy and transport systems and permits an optimistic outlook for BEVs contributing to low-carbon transport.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Renewable energy-based off-grid or decentralised electricity supply has traditionally considered a single technology-based limited level of supply to meet the basic needs, without considering reliable energy provision to rural consumers. The purpose of this paper is to propose the best hybrid technology combination for electricity generation from a mix of renewable energy resources to satisfy the electrical needs in a reliable manner of an off-grid remote village, Palari in the state of Chhattisgarh, India. Four renewable resources, namely, small-scale hydropower, solar photovoltaic systems, wind turbines and bio-diesel generators are considered. The paper estimates the residential, institutional, commercial, agricultural and small-scale industrial demand in the pre-HOMER analysis. Using HOMER, the paper identifies the optimal off-grid option and compares this with conventional grid extension. The solution obtained shows that a hybrid combination of renewable energy generators at an off-grid location can be a cost-effective alternative to grid extension and it is sustainable, techno-economically viable and environmentally sound. The paper also presents a post-HOMER analysis and discusses issues that are likely to affect/influence the realisation of the optimal solution.
  • Technical Report
    Full-text available
    The Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan) is the technology pillar of the EU's energy and climate policy. This report contains assessments of energy technology reference indicators (ETRI) and it is aimed at providing independent and up-to-date cost and performance characteristics of the present and future European energy technology portfolio. It is meant to complement the Technology Map of SETIS. Combined these two reports provide: * techno-economic data projections for the modelling community and policy makers, e.g.: capital and operating costs, and thermal efficiencies and technical lifetimes; * greenhouse gas emissions, and water consumptions; * an overview of the technology, markets, barriers and techno-economic performance; * a useful tool for policymakers for helping to identify future priorities for research, development and demonstration (RD&D); The ETRI report covers the time frame 2010 to 2050. This first version of the report focuses on electricity generation technologies, but it also includes electrical transmission grids, energy storage systems, and heat pumps.
  • Conference Paper
    Grid-parity is a very important milestone for further photovoltaic (PV) diffusion. An updated grid-parity model is presented, which is based on levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) coupled with the experience curve approach. Relevant assumptions for the model are given and its key driving forces are discussed in detail. Results of the analysis are shown for 215 countries/ islands and a total of 645 market segments all over the world. High PV industry growth rates have enabled a fast reduction of LCOE. Depletion of fossil fuel resources and climate change mitigation forces societies to internalize these effects and pave the way for sustainable energy technologies. First grid-parity events have already occurred. The 2010s are characterized by ongoing grid-parity events throughout the most regions in the world, reaching an addressable market of up to 96% of total global electricity market till 2030. In consequence, new political frameworks for maximizing social benefits will be required. In parallel, PV industry tackle its next milestone, fuel-parity. In conclusion, PV is on the pathway to become a highly competitive energy technology.
  • Technical Report
    In large parts of the world, there is a massive need for electrification. Especially in remote areas the valuable access to electricity is often missing. Mini-Grids that enable the operation of machines are particularly suitable to supply communities in a sustainable way with electricity and to promote local progress. In particular PV is suited for the supply of island grids as a decentralized source of energy. In many countries photovoltaic is already an economic alternative to diesel supply and can provide economically up to 90% of energy consumption in an island grid. Profitability, a large market potential and a well political and financial environment for stand-alone PV systems are found especially in East Africa and some South American and Asian countries. The reasons for the failure of Mini-Grids are bad political conditions, lack of credit availability and sometimes inadequate project development. In particular, the funding represents often one of the biggest obstacles for the successful implementation of a project. A sustainable operation is possible if the political and financial environment is met complemented by a comprehensive and provident planning.. Cultural aspects, a cost covering and affordable tariff system and ensuring technical reliability are important elements of successful system integration. The interests of users, operators, financiers and governmental institutions should complement each other positively. Need for action exists yet mainly at the political level in order to create better conditions. In particular, the benefits of renewable energies are not sufficiently known by many decision makers. In addition potential financiers want to be convinced by positive examples. There are by now some promising business models that can be easily reproduced in a country with clear conditions and good financing options. In this way, in a relatively short period of time access to sustainable electrical energy could be enabled for many people in developing countries.
  • Conference Paper
    People in rural regions of various developing countries suffer on having no access to modern forms of energy, in particular electricity. This work is focussed on regions inhabited by these people and presents insights on the short financial amortization periods of solar home systems and photovoltaic pico systems. With amortization periods of about 6 to 18 months, pico systems represent a capitalized value of about 10 to 45 times the original capital expenditures at the point of full financial amortization. For a significantly higher electricity demand hybrid PV mini-grids might be an excellent solution for rural electrification. However the economics are still a challenge. Based on excellent economics of small PV applications the total global residential small PV market potential is estimated to about 8 GWp and 80 bn€. The total PV-based off-grid market potential for the not yet electrified people might be estimated to about 70 GW and roughly 750 bn€.
  • Article
    Grid-parity is a very important milestone for further photovoltaic (PV) diffusion. A grid-parity model is presented, which is based on levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) coupled with the experience curve approach. Relevant assumptions for the model are given, and its key driving forces are discussed in detail. Results of the analysis are shown for more than 150 countries and a total of 305 market segments all over the world, representing 98.0% of world population and 99.7% of global gross domestic product. High PV industry growth rates enable a fast reduction of LCOE. Depletion of fossil fuel resources and climate change mitigation forces societies to internalize these effects and pave the way for sustainable energy technologies. First grid-parity events occur right now. The 2010s are characterized by ongoing grid-parity events throughout the most regions in the world, reaching an addressable market of about 75–90% of total global electricity market. In consequence, new political frameworks for maximizing social benefits will be required. In parallel, PV industry tackle its next milestone, fuel-parity. In conclusion, PV is on the pathway to become a highly competitive energy technology.
  • Article
    This study demonstrates – based on a dynamical simulation of a global, decentralized 100% renewable electricity supply scenario – that a global climate-neutral electricity supply based on the volatile energy sources photovoltaics (PV), wind energy (onshore) and concentrated solar power (CSP) is feasible at decent cost. A central ingredient of this study is a sophisticated model for the hourly electric load demand in >160 countries. To guarantee matching of load demand in each hour, the volatile primary energy sources are complemented by three electricity storage options: batteries, high-temperature thermal energy storage coupled with steam turbine, and renewable power methane (generated via the Power to Gas process) which is reconverted to electricity in gas turbines. The study determines – on a global grid with 1°x1° resolution – the required power plant and storage capacities as well as the hourly dispatch for a 100% renewable electricity supply under the constraint of minimized total system cost (LCOE). Aggregating the results on a national level results in an levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) range of 80-200 EUR/MWh (on a projected cost basis for the year 2020) in this very decentralized approach. As a global average, 142 EUR/MWh are found. Due to the restricted number of technologies considered here, this represents an upper limit for the electricity cost in a fully renewable electricity supply.
  • Article
    An estimation of the Enhanced Geothermal System's theoretical technical potential for the Iberian Peninsula is presented in this work. As a first step, the temperature at different depths (from 3500 m to 9500 m, in 1000 m steps) has been estimated from existing heat flow, temperature at 1000 m and temperature at 2000 m depth data. From the obtained temperature-at-depth data, an evaluation of the available heat stored for each 1 km thick layer between 3 and 10 km depth, under some limiting hypotheses, has been made. Results are presented as the net electrical power that could be installed, considering that the available thermal energy stored is extracted during a 30 year project life. The results are presented globally for the Iberian Peninsula and separately for Portugal (continental Portugal), Spain (continental Spain plus the Balearic Islands) and for each one of the administrative regions included in the study. Nearly 6% of the surface of the Iberian Peninsula, at a depth of 3500 m has a temperature higher than 150 °C. This surface increases to more than 50% at 5500 m depth, and more than 90% at 7500 m depth. The Enhanced Geothermal System's theoretical technical potential in the Iberian Peninsula, up to a 10 km depth (3 km–10 km) and for temperatures above 150 °C, expressed as potential installed electrical power, is as high as 700 GWe, which is more than 5 times today's total electricity capacity installed in the Iberian Peninsula (renewable, conventional thermal and nuclear).
  • Article
    In this work an estimation and comparison of the technical and sustainable potentials of EGS (Enhanced Geothermal Systems) in Europe is presented. The temperatures at depths of (3500–9500) m were firstly calculated from the available data of temperatures at surface, 1000 m and 2000 m depth, and heat flow. Next the available thermal energy stored in each 1000 m thick layer along the considered depths was evaluated. At this point, the EGS technical potential was estimated and results are presented as installable net electrical power by considering a 30 year time project. A method to estimate the EGS sustainable potential is proposed and the results are compared with the technical potential. Results are presented for the European territory as a whole and individually for each one of the European countries. Estimations for Turkey and the Caucasus region are also presented. Under the hypotheses considered in our study, the technical potential of EGS in Europe for temperatures above 150 °C and depths of between 3 km and 10 km was estimated to be more than 6500 GWe. The part of this technical potential that can be considered as ‘sustainable’ or ‘renewable’ potential was estimated to be 35 GWe.
  • Article
    Discussions about the origin of energy in a post fossil fuel world are quickly dominated by a general exchange of mostly fruitless arguments about the future contribution of nuclear energy. In this paper we discuss the status of nuclear energy today and analyze its potential evolution during the next 10-20 years. The facts are that nuclear energy contributes only about 14% of the world's electric energy mix today, and as electric energy contributes itself only about 16% to the end energy use, its contribution is essentially negligible. Still, nuclear energy is plagued already with a long list of unsolved problems. Among the less known problems one finds the difficulties that nuclear plants can not provide power according to needs, but have to be operated at full power also during times of low demand. As a result, regions with large contributions from nuclear power need some backup hydropower storage systems. Without sufficient storage capacity, cheap electric energy is suggested during low demand times, which obviously results in wasteful applications. The better known problems, without solutions since at least 40 years, are the final safe storage of the accumulated highly radioactive nuclear waste, that uranium itself is a very limited and non renewable energy resource and that enormous amounts of human resources, urgently needed to find a still unknown path towards a low energy future, are blocked by useless research on fusion energy. Thus, nuclear energy is not a solution to our energy worries but part of the problem.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Der Bericht stellt die Neuauflage der Weltenergie-Szenarien dar, die das Institut für Technische Thermodynamik des Deutschen Zentrums für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) zusammen mit über 30 weiteren Experten im Auftrag von Greenpeace International und dem European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) erarbeitet haben. Die Weltenergie-Szenarien „Energy [R]evolution 2010“ zeigen, wie die globalen CO2-Emissionen von heute 30 Milliarden Tonnen pro Jahr bis zur Mitte des Jahrhunderts auf rund zehn Milliarden Tonnen pro Jahr gesenkt werden können. Diese drastische Reduktion der Treibhausgase ist notwendig, um den Anstieg der globalen Durchschnittstemperatur auf zwei Grad Celsius gegenüber dem vorindustriellen Niveau zu beschränken. Gegenüber der letzten Studie geht ein zweites Advanced Energy [R]evolution Szenario noch einen Schritt weiter: Sollte diese CO2-Minderung aufgrund bisher nicht berücksichtigter langfristiger Klimaeffekte die Klimaerwärmung nicht aufhalten, so können zusätzliche Reduktionspotenziale den CO2-Ausstoß schon 10 Jahre früher und bis 2050 sogar bis auf 3,8 Milliarden Tonnen pro Jahr senken. Die Studie, veröffentlicht von Greenpeace International und EREC, beinhaltet u. a. eine umfangreiche Darstellung der Szenarienannahmen sowie der berechneten Kennwerte des Energiesystems je Weltregion.
  • Article
    So far, solar energy has been viewed as only a minor contributor in the energy mixture of the US due to cost and intermittency constraints. However, recent drastic cost reductions in the production of photovoltaics (PV) pave the way for enabling this technology to become cost competitive with fossil fuel energy generation. We show that with the right incentives, cost competitiveness with grid prices in the US (e.g., 6–10 US¢/kWh) can be attained by 2020. The intermittency problem is solved by integrating PV with compressed air energy storage (CAES) and by extending the thermal storage capability in concentrated solar power (CSP). We used hourly load data for the entire US and 45-year solar irradiation data from the southwest region of the US, to simulate the CAES storage requirements, under worst weather conditions. Based on expected improvements of established, commercially available PV, CSP, and CAES technologies, we show that solar energy has the technical, geographical, and economic potential to supply 69% of the total electricity needs and 35% of the total (electricity and fuel) energy needs of the US by 2050. When we extend our scenario to 2100, solar energy supplies over 90%, and together with other renewables, 100% of the total US energy demand with a corresponding 92% reduction in energy-related carbon dioxide emissions compared to the 2005 levels.
  • Article
    Each stage in the life cycle of coal-extraction, transport, processing, and combustion-generates a waste stream and carries multiple hazards for health and the environment. These costs are external to the coal industry and are thus often considered "externalities." We estimate that the life cycle effects of coal and the waste stream generated are costing the U.S. public a third to over one-half of a trillion dollars annually. Many of these so-called externalities are, moreover, cumulative. Accounting for the damages conservatively doubles to triples the price of electricity from coal per kWh generated, making wind, solar, and other forms of nonfossil fuel power generation, along with investments in efficiency and electricity conservation methods, economically competitive. We focus on Appalachia, though coal is mined in other regions of the United States and is burned throughout the world.