Gallery: Wind Could Power 35% of Western States Without Major Upgrades


The biggest argument against renewable energy has always been: what if the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow? Well, the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) just published a study answering that question. Turns out the question should really be, what if our grid doesn’t work? The conclusion of NREL’s study is that even with intermittent wind and sunshine the western United States could power the grid with up to 35% of needed energy by 2017 without major infrastructure changes. Their solution is a more effective power grid and open regional communications.

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  1. ecloud June 5, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    I need to reshingle soon and would love to get solar shingles, but please show me where I can buy them at such good prices that the labor still dwarfs the price of the shingles. Per watt they still cost much more than conventional PV panels, AFAICT.

  2. perfectcirclecarpenter June 2, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    I’d rather see them attached to houses than out in the middle of nowhere. Every farm used to have one. I’d rather see a windmill than a power line.
    I think solar roofing shingles are an even better score, because everyone at some point needs a new roof. Considering the labor usually dwarfs the material costs anyway, it’s not much difference paying for solar shingles instead of asphalt shingles. But being motivated by rebates and grants, the homeowner will more likely see a savings (insurance companies take note), because the savings are from the usual costs associated with damages from an old leaky roof.

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