The ‘duck curve’ is solar energy’s greatest challenge

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Added by May 16, 2018

Renewable requires change in the energy supply chain.

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Electricity is incredibly difficult to store, so grid operators have to generate it at the exact moment it is demanded. In order to do this, they create incredibly accurate models of the total electric loads, that is how much energy will be consumed on a given day. But as utilities started to produce more energy from renewable sources like solar, the models started to shift as well.

California researchers discovered a peculiarity in their state’s electric load curves, that started to look more and more like a duck. And that duck shaped chart highlights the greatest challenge to solar energy growth in the US.

Vox writer David Roberts has been covering the issue for a few years now. You can read some of his past explainers on the duck curve, and its solutions at the links below:

https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/3/20/17128478/solar-duck-curve-nrel-researcher

https://www.vox.com/2016/2/10/10960848/solar-energy-duck-curve

https://www.vox.com/2016/4/8/11376196/california-grid-expansion

https://www.vox.com/2016/2/12/10970858/flattening-duck-curve-renewable-energy

And if you would like to read some of the source material used in the video above, you can check those out here: https://www.caiso.com/documents/flexibleresourceshelprenewables_fastfacts.pdf https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy16osti/65023.pdf

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