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Estimating the EROI of whole systems for 100% renewable electricity supply capable of dealing with intermittency


  • Trainer, Ted


Until the last few years it has not been possible to estimate the energy return on energy invested (EROI) for 100% renewable energy supply systems, because simulations indicating the amount of capacity required were not available. This study takes the finding of a recent simulation for 100%renewable Australian electricity supply, along with commonly quoted EROI values for the technologies involved, and derives a conclusion for total energy supply system EROI. The EROI values for individual renewable technologies do not provide a reliable guide to the system value because of the large amount of redundant plant that must be on hand to enable whole systems to meet demand reliably despite intermittency. The general finding is that 100% renewable supply systems probably have values that are too low to sustain energy intensive societies.

Suggested Citation

  • Trainer, Ted, 2018. "Estimating the EROI of whole systems for 100% renewable electricity supply capable of dealing with intermittency," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 648-653.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:119:y:2018:i:c:p:648-653
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2018.04.045

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    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Ted Trainer, 2022. "Can Australia Run on Renewable Energy: Unsettled Issues and Implications," Biophysical Economics and Resource Quality, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 1-17, December.
    2. Aljoša Slameršak & Giorgos Kallis & Daniel W. O’Neill, 2022. "Energy requirements and carbon emissions for a low-carbon energy transition," Nature Communications, Nature, vol. 13(1), pages 1-15, December.
    3. David J. Murphy & Marco Raugei & Michael Carbajales-Dale & Brenda Rubio Estrada, 2022. "Energy Return on Investment of Major Energy Carriers: Review and Harmonization," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(12), pages 1-20, June.
    4. Carlos de Castro & Iñigo Capellán-Pérez, 2020. "Standard, Point of Use, and Extended Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROI) from Comprehensive Material Requirements of Present Global Wind, Solar, and Hydro Power Technologies," Energies, MDPI, vol. 13(12), pages 1-43, June.
    5. Max Ajl, 2022. "Everything Stays the Same while Everything Changes," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 53(6), pages 1398-1420, November.
    6. Marco Vittorio Ecclesia & João Santos & Paul E. Brockway & Tiago Domingos, 2022. "A Comprehensive Societal Energy Return on Investment Study of Portugal Reveals a Low but Stable Value," Energies, MDPI, vol. 15(10), pages 1-22, May.
    7. Haikarainen, Carl & Pettersson, Frank & Saxén, Henrik, 2020. "Optimized phasing of the development of a regional energy system," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 206(C).
    8. Trainer, Ted, 2022. "A technical critique of the Green New Deal," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 195(C).
    9. Marco Raugei & Mashael Kamran & Allan Hutchinson, 2020. "A Prospective Net Energy and Environmental Life-Cycle Assessment of the UK Electricity Grid," Energies, MDPI, vol. 13(9), pages 1-28, May.
    10. Zbigniew Rogala & Michał Stanclik & Dariusz Łuszkiewicz & Ziemowit Malecha, 2023. "Perspectives for the Use of Biogas and Biomethane in the Context of the Green Energy Transformation on the Example of an EU Country," Energies, MDPI, vol. 16(4), pages 1-11, February.


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