Do Solar and Wind Cause Power Plants to Release More Pollution? No Says NREL

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feature-0-1380661361123.jpg One claim against solar and wind power is that they cause fossil fuel power plants to release significantly more emissions as they cycle electric production up and down to balance the load of electricity on the grid. A new study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) essentially calls that concern hogwash and dispels the myth — again.

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  • westbranch
    westbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Do Solar and Wind Cause Power Plants to Release More Pollution? No Says NREL

    from the article:

    However, our simulations show that from a system perspective, avoided fuel costs are far greater than the increased cycling costs for fossil-fueled plants."

    High levels of wind and solar power — up to 33 percent in the study — would reduce fossil fuel costs by approximately $7 billion per year across the West, while incurring cycling costs of $35 million to $157 million per year, according to the study. That equates to added operations and maintenance costs between 47 cents to $1.28 per megawatt-hour (MWh) of generation for the power plants. As the costs of solar continue to come down, the costs-savings in terms of reduced fuel use will be greater as well. And NREL finds that solar could be cost-competitive with natural gas as soon as 2025 — without subsidies.
     
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