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A common criticism of switching entirely to renewable energy sources is that they do not always produce electricity and that reserve sources such as nuclear power or fossil electricity production are therefore needed. But a study from Stanford University in the USA indicates that this does not have to be the case at all.
The researchers simulated a scenario where electricity was exclusively supplied from solar, wind, water, and geothermal energy sources. The result was that an electricity supply built entirely on renewable sources could reduce electricity costs without risking power outages.
The reason, according to the researchers, is that solar and wind often complement each other, and if only the electricity grid is modernized and connected throughout the United States, electricity can be transferred to where it is needed. In cases where production is insufficient, having batteries as a backup should be a sufficient solution.
It does not have to be new types of batteries that can store a lot of electricity for very long periods. According to the researchers, today's batteries are sufficient. It's just a matter of having systems that make use of the stored energy when the need arises. So even though a battery may only have electricity for four hours of household consumption, the mains can draw electricity from battery after battery to cover the needs because not everyone needs the same amount of electricity all the time.
Expanding the necessary infrastructure with modern power grids, batteries, solar panels on roofs, more wind turbines, and so on would cost the United States $ 9-11 trillion, according to the researchers. A huge sum, but the researchers believe that electricity costs after the expansion would go down by 63-79 percent. This would make the investment pay for itself in as little as five years in some places.
Other benefits of investing in a fully renewable electricity supply, according to the researchers, are that it would create 47 million new jobs and save 53,000 people from dying each year from diseases caused by air pollution.