NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Intermittency and the Value of Renewable Energy

Gautam Gowrisankaran, Stanley S. Reynolds, Mario Samano

NBER Working Paper No. 17086
Issued in May 2011
NBER Program(s):   EEE   IO   PR

A key problem with solar energy is intermittency: solar generators only produce when the sun is shining. This adds to social costs and also requires electricity system operators to reoptimize key decisions with large-scale renewables. We develop a method to quantify the economic value of large-scale renewable energy. We estimate the model for southeastern Arizona. Not accounting for offset CO2, we find social costs of $138.4/MWh for 20% solar generation, of which unforecastable intermittency accounts for $6.1 and intermittency overall for $45.9. With solar installation costs of $1.48/W and CO2 social costs of $36/ton, 20% solar would be welfare neutral.

download in pdf format
   (2516 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (2516 K) or via email.

This paper was revised on September 8, 2014

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w17086

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Borenstein w17695 The Private and Public Economics of Renewable Electricity Generation
Heal w15081 The Economics of Renewable Energy
Johnstone, Hascic, and Popp w13760 Renewable Energy Policies And Technological Innovation: Evidence Based On Patent Counts
Gillingham, Newell, and Palmer w15031 Energy Efficiency Economics and Policy
Wolfram, Shelef, and Gertler w17747 How Will Energy Demand Develop in the Developing World?
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us