The Wind Doesn't Blow, and the Sun Doesn't Shine
all the time or so the common wisdom goes. But sometimes the "common wisdom" is wrong. The wind does blow all the time, it just doesn't always blow on you, making the "common wisdom" very believable.
And as it turns out, the wind blows strongest when the sun doesn't shine, and the sun shines strongest when the wind blows less.
In fact, because of that real coincidence, wind and solar could be considered "baseload" with conventional sources used to fill in the missing 20%, just as they do now - in the far off land of North Carolina.
And renewables could be scaled to do 100%.
The backup generation amounted to purchases from
other systems up to 5% of hourly loads, and 2,700 MW of gas-fired capacity. There were 17 hours
in the four months considered when still more backup power would be needed, or a loss-of-load
probability of .0058
The out-of-system purchases or back-up generation in the system dropped the wind-solar
contribution to 78% of the load. These results are shown in Table 1 of the main text (online atwww.ieer.org/reports/NC-Wind-Solar.pdf.)
The important conclusion is that intermittent solar and wind energy, especially when generated at
dispersed sites and coupled with storage and demand-shifting capacities of a system like North
Carolina’s, can generate very large portions of total electricity output with rather minimal auxiliary