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Don’t Forget About Baseload Renewable Energy, New Paper Urges
Washington, DC (March 10, 2015)
– The March 2015 edition of Electricity Journal publishes a paper arguing that the value of baseload renewables, such as geothermal, needs to be better recognized. “Misinformation about baseload renewables has distorted the discussion about the least-cost future renewable energy mix,” authors Ben Matek and Karl Gawell argue. “There are renewable baseload power sources with generation profiles that can economically replace other retiring electricity sources megawatt for megawatt, thereby avoiding incurring additional costs from purchasing and then balancing renewable intermittent power sources with storage or new transmission,” they state in the paper. Both authors work for the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), an industry trade group.
The GEA analysts assert that while there is no one-size-fits-all solution, the renewable energy sector will need to reevaluate the values of baseload renewables to address today's power challenges and the dangers of climate change. Baseload renewables provide numerous benefits that seem to have all but disappeared from the renewable energy conversation, including lower cost, better grid security, and a more optimal use of transmission infrastructure, they assert.
Instead of just looking at short-term least-cost criteria, broader questions need to be asked when choosing between technologies, according to the paper. “To determine the best path forward, a number of system-wide issues need to be addressed,” they write. “First, what combination of technologies really produces lowest system-wide costs when considering emission profile and reliability? And second, what mix of electricity sources will have the lowest cost considering both replacement costs and operation and maintenance costs over a period of several decades?”
The authors conclude, “In choosing a path to a new generation mix, the values, performance characteristics and availability of baseload renewable resources should be examined. The value of diversity should be recognized and integrated into future planning, and the total cost and performance of different mixes of technologies should be examined for each power system or balancing authority, particularly as these systems call upon larger amounts of renewable generation to meet system power needs.”
The paper is free to download at Elsevier’s Electricity Journal website titled The Benefits of Baseload Renewables: A Misunderstood Energy Technology
About the Geothermal Energy Association:
The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) is a trade association comprised of U.S. companies that support the expanded use of geothermal energy and are developing geothermal resources worldwide for electrical power generation and direct-heat uses. GEA advocates for public policies that will promote the development and utilization of geothermal resources, provides a forum for the industry to discuss issues and problems, encourages research and development to improve geothermal technologies, presents industry views to governmental organizations, provides assistance for the export of geothermal goods and services, compiles statistical data about the geothermal industry, and conducts education and outreach projects. For more information, please visit www.geo-energy.org
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