Department of Economics
University of Arizona
P.O. Box 210108
Tucson, AZ 85721
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|May 2011||Intermittency and the Value of Renewable Energy|
with Gautam Gowrisankaran, Stanley S. Reynolds: w17086
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 $46. With solar installation costs of $1.52/W and CO2 social costs of $39/ton, 20% solar would be welfare neutral.
Published: Gautam Gowrisankaran & Stanley S. Reynolds & Mario Samano, 2016. "Intermittency and the Value of Renewable Energy," Journal of Political Economy, vol 124(4), pages 1187-1234.