Intermittency and the Value of Renewable Energy
AbstractA key problem with renewable energy is intermittency. This paper develops a method to quantify the social costs of large-scale renewable energy generation. The method is based on a theoretical model of electricity system operations that allows for endogenous choices of generation capacity investment, reserve operations, and demand-side management. We estimate the model using generator characteristics, solar output, electricity demand, and weather forecasts for an electric utility in southeastern Arizona. The estimated welfare loss associated with a 20% solar photovoltaic mandate is 11% higher than the average cost difference between solar generation and natural gas generation. Unforecastable intermittency yields welfare loss equal to 3% of the average cost of solar. Eliminating a mandate provision requiring a minimum percentage of distributed solar generation increases welfare. With a $21/ton social cost of CO2 this mandate is welfare neutral if solar capacity costs decrease by 65%.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17086.
Date of creation: May 2011
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
- Q4 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-06-04 (All new papers)
- NEP-ENE-2011-06-04 (Energy Economics)
- NEP-ENV-2011-06-04 (Environmental Economics)
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