Energy Insights – A Look at Wind and Solar

Energy Insights is a series where we pull out key points from energy articles around the web.  This is not a summary but a taste.   The full articles contain even more interesting insights!  

This post covers a series of two articles.  If you are short of time I recommend reading Part Two – a brilliant article that highlights some issues that may limit renewable penetrations.  Part One is also worth a read, detailing the progress of renewables so far.

Part One – How Far We’ve Come

Together, wind and solar increased from 1.1 percent to 3.3 percent of global electricity over that same period (2008 – 2016)

This shows both the impressive relative growth (300% increase) and not so impressive amount of wind & solar in the entire global mix.

Of the power generation growth (TWh) between 2003 and 2016, 10.9% came from wind and solar

2003 to 2016 is a long period of time – it would be interesting to understand how this percentage has changed from 2003 to 2016.

Part Two – Is There An Upper Limit To Intermittent Renewables?

It is increasingly difficult for the market share of variable renewable energy sources at the system-wide level to exceed the capacity factor of the energy source.

This idea of a limit on renewables deployment based on the capacity factor is based not on technical but economic constraints.

The marginal value of variable renewable energy to the grid declines as the penetration rises.

This declining value is what leads to limiting renewables penetration via the merit order effect in wholesale markets.