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On the economics of electrical storage for variable renewable energy sources

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  • Zerrahn, Alexander
  • Schill, Wolf-Peter
  • Kemfert, Claudia

Abstract

The use of renewable energy sources is a major strategy to mitigate climate change. Yet Sinn (2017) argues that excessive electrical storage requirements limit the further expansion of variable wind and solar energy. We question, and alter, strong implicit assumptions of Sinn’s approach and find that storage needs are considerably lower, up to two orders of magnitude. First, we move away from corner solutions by allowing for combinations of storage and renewable curtailment. Second, we specify a parsimonious optimization model that explicitly considers an economic efficiency perspective. We conclude that electrical storage is unlikely to limit the transition to renewable energy.

Suggested Citation

  • Zerrahn, Alexander & Schill, Wolf-Peter & Kemfert, Claudia, 2018. "On the economics of electrical storage for variable renewable energy sources," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 259-279.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:108:y:2018:i:c:p:259-279
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2018.07.004
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Variable renewable energy sources; Wind; Solar; Energy storage;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • Q21 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • Q41 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources

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