As recently as the 1990s many experts bet that just a few percent of variable power from wind turbines and solar panels would destabilize power grids. How far we’ve come! Today the debate is about the feasibility of 100 percent renewable power, which appears to be the most likely route to decarbonized energy systems by mid-century — our best shot at avoiding truly extreme climate change.
Two of my recent feature articles take a hard look at what running grids on 100 percent renewable energy will take. My June cover story for NewScientist assesses the big picture, identifying the changes required in consumer behavior and power supplies and the technologies available to deliver them. My first feature for Scientific American, meanwhile, takes a deeper dive into power grids, and how weather smarts must be built in to make the most of weather-driven “fuel” such as winds and sunlight.
Both articles are behind paywalls online. One more reason to consider subscribing to two of the world’s top science magazines!