How Wind Energy Helps Keep The Lights On Despite Variable Winds

March 6, 2015 by Michael Goggin

Renewables and Intermittency


Wind energy can help reliably meet a large portion of the electricity needs of the United States today. That means that states can turn to renewables like wind energy to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon pollution.[read more]

Batteries Shmatteries: Let's Talk About the Biggest Type of Solar Storage

February 9, 2015 by Stephanie Matteson

Solar and Storage Innovation

In talking about energy storage, the renewable energy industry usually thinks batteries, with few being aware of a much more powerful source of storage that can be integrated with intermittent sources of power like sun and wind: pumped storage hydroelectricity.[read more]

Wind and Solar Energy: Transforming the Grid with Clean Energy, Reliably, Every Day

January 2, 2015 by NRDC Switchboard

Clean Energy and Grid Integration

Despite years of successful experience, dozens of studies, and increasing utility support for clean energy, urban myth holds that electricity from renewable energy is unreliable. Yet over 75,000 megawatts (MW) of wind and solar power have been integrated, reliably, into the nation’s electric grid.[read more]

Building the Wind-Balancing Grid, One Island at a Time

June 23, 2014 by Jeff St. John

Wind-Balancing Grid Building

One of the great debates in the utility field is exactly how much intermittent wind and solar power is too much for the grid to handle, and what new technologies are needed to raise that ceiling. The smaller and more isolated the grid, the more quickly these once-theoretical barriers are being breached.[read more]

When the Wind Doesn't Blow

June 10, 2014 by Robert Rapier

Renewables and Intermittency

The average capacity factor - the percentage of time an electricity-producing asset is actually producing maximum power - is 40% for wind power in the US. The Hawi Renewable Development Wind Farm is better, at 45 percent, but for the 55% of the time it isn’t producing power, backup is required.[read more]

A Molecular Approach to Solar Energy

April 15, 2014 by Energy @ MIT

Solar Tech Innovation


It’s an obvious truism, but one that may soon be outdated: The problem with solar power is that sometimes the sun doesn’t shine.Now a team at MIT and Harvard University has come up with an ingenious workaround, a material that can absorb the sun’s heat and store energy in chemical form.[read more]

Only Build Wind Turbines Where it's Windy and Solar Where Sunny?

April 4, 2014 by Roman Kilisek

Renewables and Placements

Bringing about structural change in a country’s power system requires an energy policy supported by the long-term commitment of the political elite to tackle entrenched interests. Renewables are at the center of efforts to diversify and help countries wean themselves off carbon-heavy energy supplies.[read more]

The Optimal Share of Intermittent Renewables

January 30, 2014 by Schalk Cloete

Optimal Share of Intermittents

This article summarizes the research of Lion Hirth at Vattenfall on the declining value of intermittent renewables at higher penetrations. The modelling work reveals and elegantly explains a number of seemingly counter-intuitive effects regarding higher penetration renewable energy futures.[read more]


Four Ways the Attack on Wind and Solar Is Wrong

January 27, 2014 by Herman Trabish

Renewables and Intermittency

The more accurate term for intermittent renewables is ‘variable renewables.’ The word ‘intermittent’ reinforces the impression that wind and solar are unreliable. The word ‘variable’ underscores the fact that, like all energy sources, wind and solar can and must be managed by grid operators.[read more]

The Effect of Intermittent Renewables on Electricity Prices in Germany

January 9, 2014 by Schalk Cloete

Germany and Intermittent Renewables

Falling electricity prices offer a good demonstration of how quickly the market discounts intermittent renewables as penetration increases, thereby further eroding the already-poor competitiveness of these types of electricity sources.[read more]

Study: Wind Energy Needs Controls to Minimize Risk of Instability on the Grid

January 4, 2014 by Christina Nunez

The location of a wind farm can play a key role in the potential for wind energy to add or detract from stability on the electric grid, according to researchers at North Carolina State University and Johns Hopkins University.[read more]


Energy Storage Solution for the UK: Large Scale Pumped-Storage Site

March 18, 2013 by Julian Hunt

energy storage in UK

Most people have assumed that the UK does not have enough feasible pumped-storage potential for a renewable energy revolution to take place. Intermittency is the biggest challenge for wind energy in the UK.[read more]

Wind Power Isn’t Perfect, But It’s a Hell of a Lot Better than the Alternatives

January 20, 2013 by Tyler Hamilton

Wind turbines/Shutterstock

If we were to stick with our coal phase-out strategy without wind, we would need to burn more natural gas. The reality is that when the wind blows it gives us the opportunity to burn less natural gas when it’s being used to displace coal. This is partially why greenhouse-gas emissions associated with electricity generation in Ontario have fallen by two-thirds since 2003.[read more]

Energy Storage Systems Finally Getting The Attention They Deserve

January 17, 2013 by Jessica Kennedy

Energy Storage via Shutterstock

The renewable energy industry has been growing by leaps and bounds in recent years.  More wind and solar power is contributing to the electric grid than ever before.  There is one drawback to renewable energy sources however, and that is their intermittent periods of production and disruption.  After all, the weather does...[read more]

Texas' Record Electricity Demand Creates Battling Headlines about Wind Power

August 10, 2011 by Steve Skutnik

Last Wednesday, August 3rd, saw a new record set in the ERCOT electricity service area. ERCOT wasted no time in putting some data from these events online. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), put up a blog post titled Wind helps meet new Texas record for electricity demand. Now, that's something we would expect, except for...[read more]