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      Geophysical constraints on the reliability of solar and wind power in the United States

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          Abstract

          Daily and seasonal variability of solar, wind and electricity demand require substantial dispatchable power capacity to achieve deep decarbonization with high reliability.

          Abstract

          We analyze 36 years of global, hourly weather data (1980–2015) to quantify the covariability of solar and wind resources as a function of time and location, over multi-decadal time scales and up to continental length scales. Assuming minimal excess generation, lossless transmission, and no other generation sources, the analysis indicates that wind-heavy or solar-heavy U.S.-scale power generation portfolios could in principle provide ∼80% of recent total annual U.S. electricity demand. However, to reliably meet 100% of total annual electricity demand, seasonal cycles and unpredictable weather events require several weeks’ worth of energy storage and/or the installation of much more capacity of solar and wind power than is routinely necessary to meet peak demand. To obtain ∼80% reliability, solar-heavy wind/solar generation mixes require sufficient energy storage to overcome the daily solar cycle, whereas wind-heavy wind/solar generation mixes require continental-scale transmission to exploit the geographic diversity of wind. Policy and planning aimed at providing a reliable electricity supply must therefore rigorously consider constraints associated with the geophysical variability of the solar and wind resource—even over continental scales.

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          Is Open Access

          Development of the GEOS-5 atmospheric general circulation model: evolution from MERRA to MERRA2

          The Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications-2 (MERRA2) version of the Goddard Earth Observing System-5 (GEOS-5) atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) is currently in use in the NASA Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO) at a wide range of resolutions for a variety of applications. Details of the changes in parameterizations subsequent to the version in the original MERRA reanalysis are presented here. Results of a series of atmosphere-only sensitivity studies are shown to demonstrate changes in simulated climate associated with specific changes in physical parameterizations, and the impact of the newly implemented resolution-aware behavior on simulations at different resolutions is demonstrated. The GEOS-5 AGCM presented here is the model used as part of the GMAO MERRA2 reanalysis, global mesoscale simulations at 10 km resolution through 1.5 km resolution, the real-time numerical weather prediction system, and for atmosphere-only, coupled ocean-atmosphere and coupled atmosphere-chemistry simulations. The seasonal mean climate of the MERRA2 version of the GEOS-5 AGCM represents a substantial improvement over the simulated climate of the MERRA version at all resolutions and for all applications. Fundamental improvements in simulated climate are associated with the increased re-evaporation of frozen precipitation and cloud condensate, resulting in a wetter atmosphere. Improvements in simulated climate are also shown to be attributable to changes in the background gravity wave drag, and to upgrades in the relationship between the ocean surface stress and the ocean roughness. The series of resolution-aware parameters related to the moist physics was shown to result in improvements at higher resolutions and result in AGCM simulations that exhibit seamless behavior across different resolutions and applications.
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            Is Open Access

            Cost-minimized combinations of wind power, solar power and electrochemical storage, powering the grid up to 99.9% of the time

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              Grid flexibility and storage required to achieve very high penetration of variable renewable electricity

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                EESNBY
                Energy & Environmental Science
                Energy Environ. Sci.
                Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)
                1754-5692
                1754-5706
                2018
                2018
                :
                :
                Article
                10.1039/C7EE03029K
                278b0c4b-23d5-4fe5-a39e-13ada1656512
                © 2018
                Product
                Self URI (article page): http://xlink.rsc.org/?DOI=C7EE03029K

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