What would happen if the grid depended 100% on renewable energy

NPR

Sep 7, 2021

Utility companies could be the key to decelerating climate change

When you switch on the lights in your home or turn on the heater, you may be contributing to the warming of the climate or maybe not. This depends on how the electricity provider you use is generating that power. Electricity is the one of the biggest energy sources that can be free of carbon emissions.


Electricity can be produced by the Sun, Wind and Water, all resources that are naturally replenished. Most utilities do not include in their numbers any cost incurred to the environment, just the cost to the consumer. If something like a carbon tax could be included, the cost of coal and natural gas would go up, and solar or wind would be a lot cheaper comparatively. Electric utilities can start charging consumers not just for generating power, but for energy storage, and shifting demands by making it profitable to cut emissions.


Places like New York or Minnesota, Colorado have already started doing this. Things get harder when you get closer to zero carbon emissions. When utilities aim to be fully dependent on renewables the unpredictability of these resources can be a major downside. We cannot control the wind or the sunshine. Also when events like extreme cold winter storms hit, people turn the heaters up and the strain on the grid surges. This shows us that the battle with climate change must be a collective collaboration between the individual consumer and the utility provider.


A balance between supply and demand. The consumers need to be educated about conserving electricity and invest in energy efficient products while the utility providers make their efforts towards making the grid more eco-friendly and sustainable.


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