Study says solar's potential as high as 90%
Mar 5, 2008 - Power News
Ausra Inc., a developer of utility-scale solar thermal power technology, has announced a peer-reviewed study showing that over 90% of the U.S. electric grid and auto fleet's energy needs could be met by solar thermal power.
"The U.S. could nearly eliminate our dependence on coal, oil and gas for electricity and transportation, drastically slashing global warming pollution without increasing costs for energy," said David Mills, chief scientific officer and founder of Ausra.
This new study shows that our daily and annual energy needs closely match the energy production potential from solar thermal power plants with heat energy storage, and our models show solar thermal power will cost less than continuing to import oil.
Mills is the inventor of the absorber surfaces used in the majority of the world's solar hot water heaters and the pioneer of Ausra's compact linear Fresnel technology. He presented his findings March 5 at the IEA SolarPACES solar research conference in Las Vegas. He coauthored the new paper with Robert Morgan, Ausra?s chief development officer.
Their study found that because the seasonal and daily patterns of solar radiation already correlate strongly with electricity use, just 16 hours of thermal storage can provide reliable, load-following electric power.