Here's an interesting article in the New York Times by MATTHEW L. WALD about the impact of making renewable, reliable. As may may not know, the biggest hurdle with renewable is the reliability of the power output. When the wind does not blow or when the sun does not shine, you have to compensate with a more stable source of energy.
Here are some excerpt from the article.
Managers here discuss new tools, like Doppler radar on remote hilltops to detect the speed of the wind hitting the windmill blades and to forecast what it will be in 15 or 30 minutes, so natural gas plants can be started in time to meet demand when the wind stops, or shut down before the gusts come through and overload the system.
Managers also explore how they might forecast haze and dust, which change the output of solar cells. They worry about rogue clouds that will disrupt solar fields. They talk about batteries of an unprecedented scale that will go from fully charging to fully discharging in one second, to smooth out the herky-jerky output of mammoth new renewable developments.
The grid experts are often reticent about their concerns, because when they speak up, “we get perceived as we are not supportive of renewables”Those grid operators live in the real world and need to provide for real, constant power. One thing that the "green" energy does not provide. What is the cost of all this. What is the backup power when the wind does not blow or when the solar panels do not work because of clouds? Fossil fuels mostly in the form of natural gas. No wonder those providing natural gas like to see more "green' energy deploy, because they understand perfectly that those fields of solar and wind provide power 25% of the time in average.
The public may expect that with a proliferation of solar panels and wind machines, companies will shut plants that run on coal and natural gas. But all of it will be needed if the system is to remain stable and ride through periods of low wind.So when the "greens" push those "green" energies, they do not put those need in the equations. Doing so, would mean it would be impossible to sell it to the public.