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ARS Home » Plains Area » Bushland, Texas » Conservation and Production Research Laboratory » Livestock Nutrient Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #253393

Title: Increasing the percentage of renewable energy in the Southwestern United States

item Vick, Brian
item HOLMAN, ADAM - West Texas A & M University

Submitted to: Windpower
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/15/2010
Publication Date: 8/1/2010
Citation: Vick, B.D., Holman, A. 2010. Increasing the percentage of renewable energy in the Southwestern United States [poster]. In: Proceedings of the 2010 American Wind Energy Association Conference, May 23-27, 2010, Dallas, Texas. 2010 CDROM.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Combining the output of wind farms with that of Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) plants (including a heat storage system) resulted in a substantial percentage (40%) of the total utility electrical generation in the Southwestern United States being met by renewable energy. Using wind and solar resource data from several locations in the Southwestern United States, hourly energy output from wind farms and parabolic trough CSP plants were compared to the current utility load requirements at those same locations. Adding CSP plant output to that of wind farms resulted in a better match to utility load diurnally and seasonally and also helped meet peak utility electrical loads. However, the cost of energy of parabolic trough CSP plants is currently about two to three times that of wind farms, but combining the two results in cost of energy of approximately $90/MWh. Both wind farms and CSP plants have problems with intermittency due to lulls in wind and partly cloudy conditions, but by using a very efficient solar thermal storage system (97% has been demonstrated) these power fluctuations were eliminated most of the time. In this paper, the excess wind generated electricity during low utility load periods (e.g. late night, early morning hours) was stored in the CSP solar thermal storage system via electric heaters – for the Southwestern United States, this energy storage concept is believed to be more economical than pumped hydro, conversion to and storage of hydrogen, or compressed air energy storage (CAES) systems.