Research press release


Nature Climate Change

Existing technologies can affordably cut US electricity sector emissions



今回、Alexander MacDonald、Christopher Clackたちの研究グループは、既存の技術のみを用いて米国全土で実現可能な二酸化炭素削減レベルを調べた。この研究では、断続的発電のシミュレーションを行って、再生可能エネルギーによる発電量が最も高い地域に応じて、最小コストで電力の需要と供給を調和させる方法を見つけ出した。


同時掲載されるMark JacobsonのNews & Views記事によれば、今回の研究は「これまでの概念の枠を超え、再生可能エネルギーによる断続的発電と送電システムを組み合わせることで、エネルギー貯蔵を考慮せずに、化石燃料による電力の大部分をなくし、化石燃料による送配電網より低コストで電力需要を充足できることを明らかにする」ものとされる。

Existing renewable technologies could significantly reduce the carbon dioxide emissions of the US electricity sector without increasing the cost of electricity, according to a new paper published online this week in Nature Climate Change.

It has been suggested that new, expensive energy storage technologies will be needed to develop electricity grids that rely predominantly on power from renewable electricity sources. However, such storage technologies can increase the cost of electricity, and make decarbonizing the grid prohibitively expensive. Previous studies have focused on how to stabilize the grid with a combination of renewables and storage, but, until now, no study has looked at the emissions implications of matching demand with intermittent supply from existing renewable technologies over a large area.

Alexander MacDonald, Christopher Clack and colleagues looked at the level of emissions cuts that could be achieved across the US using only existing technologies. They simulated intermittent electricity generation to find the lowest-cost ways to match demand with supply, depending on where renewable generation is most plentiful.

They find that emissions from the US electricity sector could be reduced by 80% in 2030 compared to 1990 levels, with no additional electrical storage and at a nine per cent lower cost than a fossil-fuel-based grid. They achieve most of the simulated reductions by connecting a large number of low-cost renewable energy sources to high-energy-demand centres, using new, efficient transmission systems, but also rely on some natural gas, nuclear power and hydropower to complement renewable energy generation.

In an accompanying News & Views article, Mark Jacobson writes that the study “pushes the envelope to show that intermittent renewables plus transmission can eliminate most fossil fuel electricity while matching power demand at lower cost than a fossil-fuel-based grid, even before storage is considered”.

doi: 10.1038/nclimate2921


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