Can There Really Be Too Much Renewable Power?

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The frequent critique of renewable energy, and wind power in particular -- that it's too intermittent and requires carbon-emitting backup capacity -- is turning into a flawed premise. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory's recent Western Wind and Solar Integration Study (WWSIS) concludes that no additional backup generation would be required if renewable power provided up to 20 percent of the region's power, and reaching 35 percent could be accomplished through changes to operating practices. WWSIS is the latest in a series of reports that have come to such a conclusion.

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