Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 76 (2017) 1122–1133

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Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
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Burden of proof: A comprehensive review of the feasibility of 100% MARK
renewable-electricity systems

B.P. Hearda, , B.W. Brookb, T.M.L. Wigleya,c, C.J.A. Bradshawd
University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia
University of Tasmania, Private Bag 55, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80301, USA
Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, South Australia 5001, Australia


Keywords: An effective response to climate change demands rapid replacement of fossil carbon energy sources. This must
Renewables occur concurrently with an ongoing rise in total global energy consumption. While many modelled scenarios
Wind power have been published claiming to show that a 100% renewable electricity system is achievable, there is no
Solar power empirical or historical evidence that demonstrates that such systems are in fact feasible. Of the studies
published to date, 24 have forecast regional, national or global energy requirements at sufficient detail to be
Ancillary services
considered potentially credible. We critically review these studies using four novel feasibility criteria for reliable
electricity systems needed to meet electricity demand this century. These criteria are: (1) consistency with
mainstream energy-demand forecasts; (2) simulating supply to meet demand reliably at hourly, half-hourly, and
five-minute timescales, with resilience to extreme climate events; (3) identifying necessary transmission and
distribution requirements; and (4) maintaining the provision of essential ancillary services. Evaluated against
these objective criteria, none of the 24 studies provides convincing evidence that these basic feasibility criteria
can be met. Of a maximum possible unweighted feasibility score of seven, the highest score for any one study
was four. Eight of 24 scenarios (33%) provided no form of system simulation. Twelve (50%) relied on unrealistic
forecasts of energy demand. While four studies (17%; all regional) articulated transmission requirements, only
two scenarios—drawn from the same study—addressed ancillary-service requirements. In addition to feasibility
issues, the heavy reliance on exploitation of hydroelectricity and biomass raises concerns regarding environ-
mental sustainability and social justice. Strong empirical evidence of feasibility must be demonstrated for any
study that attempts to construct or model a low-carbon energy future based on any combination of low-carbon
technology. On the basis of this review, efforts to date seem to have substantially underestimated the challenge
and delayed the identification and implementation of effective and comprehensive decarbonization pathways.

1. Introduction and the United Nations Human Development Index is “undeniable”
[5]. But there seems little prospect of decreasing energy consumption
The recent warming of the Earth's climate is unequivocal [1,2]. globally this century, especially with > 10% of the global population in
Over the 20 years to 2015, atmospheric concentration of carbon extreme poverty [6]. With the fate of modern society and global
dioxide has risen from around 360 ppm (ppm) to over 400 ppm; environments at stake, effective action on climate change demands
emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels have grown from credible, evidence-based plans for energy systems that (i) almost
approximately 6.4 Gt C year−1 in 1995 to around 9.8 Gt C year−1 in wholly avoid the exploitation of fossil carbon sources, and (ii) are
2013 [3]. Global average temperature rise has continued, with 2016 scalable to the growing energy demands of approximately nine to ten
confirmed as the warmest year on record. Thermal coal production billion people by mid-century, and perhaps over 12 billion by the end of
increased for 14 consecutive years to 2013 before recording a slight the century [7]. This process logically begins with displacing coal, gas
decline, with a net increase of approximately 3 billion tonnes of and oil in electricity generation, but must eventually expand to
production per year since 1999 [4]. eliminate nearly all fossil hydrocarbon used in industrial and residen-
Inexpensive and abundant energy remains crucial for economic tial heat, personal and commercial transportation, and most other
development; the relationship between per-capita energy consumption energy-related services.

Corresponding author.
Received 6 September 2016; Received in revised form 14 February 2017; Accepted 23 March 2017
1364-0321/ © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

There is a near-total lack of historical evidence for the technical 2.38] into a well-defined set of criteria. whole nations. consisting of both electrical and the results of a comprehensive review seeking evidence that the non-electrical energy end-use. abundant hydropower. or covering ment of energy policy [30–32]. or feasibility. define the concept of feasibility. (ii) Scenarios must propose and 442 g CO2-e kWh −1 for Denmark.41–43]. including the reliance on only single there is no point in assessing its viability (sensu [44]). feasibility itself was not defined. results of the assessment in terms of the strength of the evidence for These imposed choices automatically foreclose potentially essential technical feasibility of 100% renewable-electricity systems. We discuss the nuclear power and fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage [8–28]. but also realistic within the socio-economic constraints of Repeated critiques of individual studies by Trainer [35–37] have society [40]. wave and geothermal).. cost. We applied the following screening criteria for this literature population of only 0. If certain pathways are excluded a priori. [44] explicitly distinguished economic and social feasibility” of a 100% renewables proposal focused between solutions that are “technically feasible” but not considered on New York State [18]. such as a solar large-scale models [34]. case. is projected to grow to at least 2100 1123 . nor did it attend closely to issues of electricity reliability it can be workable when applied to a whole electricity network. Note that our use of feasible refers to the whole electricity climate-change mitigation. but still allowed scores to be determined based literature on 100% renewable systems [33]. Below we describe our of this literature —there is no empirical basis to understand the four subsidiary feasibility criteria. cantons and the like). However. A narrative review of 23 studies in 2012 provided a were required to forecast to the year 2050 or earlier. (iv) Scenarios technical feasibility. governmental and non-governmental effort has electricity requirements of modern economies can be met through focused on developing energy scenarios devoted exclusively to energy 100% renewable-energy sources. electricity supply to be from at least 95% renewable sources (through tively) [29]. regional. and no firm not seeking to establish the viability of the proposed systems.or national-scale scenarios. In assessing the feasibility feasibility of proposed 100%-renewable electricity systems. We use viability as a responsible policy making requires: (i) can such a system work? and subordinate concept to feasibility. A critique by to refer to technical characteristics of the energy system under Gilbraith et al. not merely the individual items of technology. examined 164 scenarios from 16 different system. For example. Consequently. 365 tative of the current state of knowledge. and wind. and outline technologies. Loftus interchangeably [47–50]. lack of attention paid to the necessary transmission/distribution net.B. there has been only extensive regions within large nations (so excluding scenarios for single limited structured review of this literature to test for fundamental towns. and Dalton et al. scale demand areas such as the whole globe. and not Our definitions are not unique. and environmental implica. solar. highlighted feasibility deficiencies. that the system will work. their use of the term extended all energy use.e. Thus. often with the explicit exclusion of describe and justify our choice of assessment criteria. impacts. respec. and provisions of ancillary services. serious and extensive methodological errors and deficiencies in a Several other studies confound these terms or have used them semi- 100%-renewable plan for the continental United States [39]. years of data to determine the necessary generating capacity. [38] identified insufficient analysis of the “technical. scenarios must consider large- theless proven influential as a platform for advocacy on the develop. Methods feasibility of 100% renewable-electricity systems operating at regional or larger scales. including several 100%-renewable beyond what they called “hard physical constraints” [40]. Our [35–39. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 76 (2017) 1122–1133 Much academic. [40] examined global decarbonization scenarios (encompassing edged the physical barriers of feasibility. (iii) For spatial scale. If scenarios useful diagnosis of common features and gaps in the peer-reviewed extended beyond 2050. and a sources. Heard et al. Even so. we included the scenario and scored it against the extensive deficiencies in the evidence. Another recent assessment has highlighted “economically viable”. We present Total global energy consumption. their review did not consider national. 40] acknowl- et al. Other European nations lauded search: (i) Scenarios had to be published after 2006: we applied this for their efforts in renewable energy deployment produce greenhouse cut-off date to weight selections towards literature that was represen- emissions from electricity at rates close to the EU-27 average (468. Germany and EU-27. biomass.or regional. some combination of hydroelectricity. of feasibility requires that evidence is presented that a proposed system tions can be estimated accurately? IPCC Working Group III. small islands. not only electricity).46]. We were principally concerned with evidence for the strict technical works. counties. We describe the method we used to technologies classed as ‘renewable’ (mainly hydroelectricity. based on the lower hurdle only. This is rarely the decisions on low-carbon electricity production. including assumptions of unprecedented rates of decline in energy i. In this paper. wind. This distinction is not applied universally.1. while Loftus et al. Their review highlighted several deficiencies in the latter.3 million people. Our study is analyses. The only developed-nation today with electricity from We identified published scenarios that have attempted to address 100% renewable sources is Iceland [29]. However. evidence behind propositions of 100%-renewable electricity (or energy) for global-. intensity. unless something is first established as feasible. highlighting in particular the 2050 outcome. thanks to a unique endow. or wave energy). biomass. Viable means that the system is not only the feasibility of the various renewable-energy systems considered [34]. Here we provide a first step in remedying this problem. We define feasible as ‘possible (ii) what evidence is required to describe such a system in sufficient within the constraints of the physical universe’. Despite this. there is 2. feasible. so a demonstration detail such that elements like time. identify the relevant scenarios. geothermal Scenarios for 100% renewable electricity (and energy) have never. our use of feasible requires four subsidiary criteria so that level studies. in will work with current or near-current technology at a specified examining the potential contribution of renewable energy to future reliability. the challenge of providing electricity supply entirely from renewable ment of shallow geothermal aquifers. We require only evidence for feasibility.P. solar. assessment [45. then such exclusions makers and researchers with a framework to make balanced and logical should be fully justified and the alternatives proven. We were of these studies however. the IPCC did not examine explicitly panel or a wind turbine. we argue that the burden of proof for such a some of the major environmental and human development implica- consequential decision is high and lies with the proponents of such tions of these proposed pathways. Criterion 1: The electricity demand to which supply will be a risk that policy formation for climate-change mitigation will be based matched must be projected realistically over the future time interval more on considerations of publicity and popular opinion than on of interest evidence of effectiveness. These conclusions were drawn regarding the most basic questions that terms are frequently used interchangeably. That review identified on 2050 milestones. goal is to distil many of the issues raised by previous critical examina- Policy makers are therefore handicapped regarding the credibility tions [33. Our intention is to provide policy plans. feasibility has been used elsewhere accounting for worst-known meteorological conditions.

Furthermore.85% yr-1 over unscheduled outages like breakdowns.1% year−1) [59]. they must be consistent with: (i) the customers. and the firmly established link between industrialization and historical precedent or realistic future projections). [36]. other energy-intensive pathways. which is strongly for electricity for any given year. but also the great utility of hydrocarbon fuels Australian National Electricity Market).37). fossil-fuel sources account for about of customer demand every year for the Pennsylvania. Such generators can have high reliability in services..54]. Credible characterization that region. trends contain such momentum that the range of possible mid-century outcomes is insensitive even to major interventions in fertility policy.41 to 0. As per Criterion 1. electrification is predicted 2.6% year-1) than in describes the ability of the system to respond to multiple types of OECD countries (1. The increasing penetration of variable.4–3. MERGE and MiniCAM models.26%. to within regulated reliability limits. For example. accounts for the limited and intermittent availability of most renewable compared with (and much less than) the corresponding rates of gross resources and the potential for extreme climate conditions that are domestic product change (2. 2..998% for the not only the availability.54]. in all plausible climatic modern development [57]. ongoing economic development for the non-OECD major.80%. based on ity. Electricity supplies an customers as economically as possible [72.73].2. energy consumption holds.27.35% and 2. and solar generation.g. yet credible (e. augmen- range of primary energy projections in the mainstream literature for ted transmission networks are vital [81–86]. terms of being in working order.16. together with an additional back-up correlated with per-capita energy consumption in the early stages of margin. together define a reliability standard. this reliability must be While the implied reductions in energy intensity are large. For heat [67. respectively.60–65]. system-wide reduced demand in either primary energy or electricity is unrealistic. These growth with a high potential for failure..g. Nearly all of the expected population growth — total reinvention of both supply and demand of energy. yet they have low and intermittent Given these issues. such as the produc. 2. 80% of primary energy and two thirds of final energy [66]. but must instead account for present and predicted variability in Such an outcome would be at odds with the increase in global the resource over foreseeable time scales. outside the historical record.8% year−1) [40]. the most extreme (Level 1) proposed supply will meet any foreseeable demand in real time at a mitigation scenarios in the US Climate Change Science Program report defined reliability standard and with a sufficient reserve margin for show primary energy increases of 0. and security operation and Development (OECD) is higher (3. Criterion 2: The proposed supply of electricity must be or widespread catastrophe [7.56].9%) is a required for non-electric energy services traditionally met by fossil common requirement of modern electricity supply (e. For the IGSM from 2010 to 2050. However.28% yr−1. population. 1124 .38 to 0. Electrification of energy services via non-carbon. This reflects Maryland (PJM) network in the United States. It must do so in a way that fully 2010–2050 for the IGSM. service as a percentage of customer demand that must be served over a city to avoid the exploitation of fossil fuels. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 76 (2017) 1122–1133 [51. Effective climate-change system. climate-dependent sources tion of synthetic hydrocarbons [68] or ammonia [69–71]. available at all times energy services must be provided in ways that minimize the use of [baseload]) and/or fully dispatchable (able to be called-up or with- fossil carbon sources. increased energy consumption. and (ii) complementary projections in total electricity of the necessary enhanced transmission network is essential for consumption. 1 year).. 99.53. from 0. distribution networks [80].g.62% and 0. which prescribes the required An effective climate change response requires provision of electri. > 1. must be identified. High reliability ( > 99. any future global scenario that presents static or availability of the resource itself [72]. To achieve high penetration of renewable energy. such as wind likely to be required to achieve the required stabilization of atmo. Today.52]. power system to satisfy consumer demand at any time. drawn at any time in response to demand changes) is deemed essential based electricity generation offers one pathway towards that outcome for system reliability.. Projected ‘electrification’ Adequacy refers to the existence of sufficient generation for the electric of energy use in countries outside the Organisation for Economic Co. Electrification results (electric demand. This population growth will occur simulated/calculated to be capable of meeting the real-time demand at the same time as growth in per-capita income. which in turn transport electricity to So for scenarios to be feasible. reliability cannot be determined based on ‘typical’ weather conditions and is inconsistent with almost all other future energy projections. Electricity-demand scenarios that are inconsistent with establishing the feasibility of any high-penetration renewable electricity the above represent low-probability outcomes. are also of generation that are largely uncorrelated with demand.B. while electrification increases in the capacity and/or growth in supply must be described and mapped to other two models. and 99.5 billion) [55] supply systems for such scenarios therefore represent policy pathways — will occur in Africa.43 to 0. conditions Growth is also anticipated specifically for electricity consumption. and from 0. The International Energy Agency estimates that in 2016.52 demonstrate delivery of generated electricity to the user network such in MiniCAM. Atypical conditions that are extreme.2 billion An electrical power system must provide reliable electricity to its people had no access to electricity [58]. primary demonstrated as achievable for the full range of plausible future energy energy consumption will still increase. respectively).P. expected to be more than the average rate of change for the last 40 Any proposed supply system must therefore demonstrate that the years (−0. fastest growing form of delivered energy [59]. these this reason.3.68]. provides additional challenges for managing spheric carbon dioxide while meeting demand for versatile energy system reliability [75–79]. Substitutes will also be given period of time (e. Population growth is expected to continue at least to the end of mitigation under scenarios that diverge from the above would call for the century [7. Heard et al. New Jersey.98% service fuels [11. These concepts range of forecasts. Electricity supply must vary in a variety of services including transportation and industrial process dynamically to ensure instantaneous matching with demand [73]. primary energy/total primary energy) show how complex this para- meter is.e. from < 1 minute to decadal. generation that is constant (i.55. [51]. but different models make a wide disturbance in the quality of power supply [74].4 billion people relative to today (range 1. To achieve deep climate-mitigation outcomes. 0. Scenarios that project electricity demand under the that supply meets both projected demand and reliability standards assumption of extreme increases in electrification might imply un- realistic energy transition pathways that are inconsistent with the Transmission networks transport electricity from generators to mainstream literature [51]. even after accounting for projected rates of severely drought-impacted hydro-electric output in winter combined decline in energy intensity (primary energy GDP-1) — rates that are with coincident low solar and wind output). Cepin [72] stated that increasing share of the world's total energy demand and is the world's power-system reliability depends on both adequacy and security. The inevitability of increased primary both for each generation type in isolation and in combination (e.g. Criterion 3: Any transmission requirements for newly installed to decrease (from 0. Asia and the Middle East [7.54 in MERGE. Proposed around 2.

For example in efforts to address a criterion stood out among studies. We assigned each of Criteria 1. Such challenges at 100% penetration of renewables remain Finally. have been identified to 2033. displaces traditional synchronous genera- four out of a possible seven for Mason et al. additional score of one to those simulating to the half-hour. studies examined. data from the following sources: the IPCC Special Report on Emission tion network. 2000 (where available) to 2050 (Fig. known as ‘embedded generation’ [95]. turning lights on and off). [9. with diminishing returns on loss- standard (typically 50 or 60 cycles per second [Hz] within a normal of-load probability reductions).B. Changes in frequency arise exacerbates the challenge. with asynchronous bility. Thus. Eight For example. Energy demand resulting in total power loss to all 1. No studies addressed the distribu- this situation could be exacerbated in the future [91]. The impact of Scenarios [105]. No wind or solar by assuming unrealistic reductions in total primary energy and/or by generators are registered bidders for these services.4. As a consequence. the loss of transmission lines in South Australia during a increased embedded generation. the frequency varies due to extreme climate conditions that have no historical precedent further changes in electrical load on the system. asynchronous solar photovoltaic generation. studies we examined provided a convincing demonstration of feasi- However. ten-year steps from 2000. Frequency control ancillary services aspects of electricity provision [75–78]. and the World Energy small-scale solar photovoltaic systems [95]. the determined implementation of the Energiewende strat. with a maximum score =4) is justified based on the following: (i) demand-supply matching is one of the most challenging 2. We calculated the median of all 28 scenarios in and embedded. the impact of We discuss two examples of ancillary service requirements: extreme climate events.5. the maximum score accrued was generation of electricity. egy has triggered an examination of how ancillary services will be We subdivided Criterion 2 into four parts because different retained. an 72 GW (28% of total installed capacity) of fossil-fuel-powered. the frequency of the alternating-current reliabilities is non-linear (i. Criterion 4: The proposed system must show how critical 2. regulated ancillary services will be response to climate change. in the Australian National Electricity Market. the of the 24 scenarios did not do any form of integrated simulation to provision of all frequency-control ancillary services comes from verify the reliability of the proposed renewable electricity system.104]. voltage Technology Outlook of the European Commission [106]. In practice.1. Voltage management is affected by in the scenarios that considered the whole globe to the primary energy the expansion of generation that is connected to an electrical-distribu. This is particularly relevant for 100% renewable-supply global primary energy data from 1990 from the BP Statistical Review of systems that propose high reliance on asynchronous wind generation World Energy [107].7 million residents. we gave the study a score of 0. Scoring ancillary services will be provided to ensure power quality and the reliable operation of the network.2. Of the 24 studies we assessed. This is conceptually unrealistic. many assumed reductions in primary energy.4. Only four intermittent renewable generation is already leading to a scarcity of of the studies articulated the necessary transmission requirements for support services in the network and an increasing risk of breaching the system to operate..5. We ments. 3.e. from the same authors reliability standards. the maximum possible score for any from the small. the US Climate Change Science Program (an inter- embedded generation has been transformed by the rapid uptake of agency effort from the U. they did not meet a single feasibility criterion). and at odds with most of the literature. particularly in system-restart require. none of the 100% renewable-electricity turbines spinning in unison at close to the regulated standard. Studies fully meeting an individual criterion scored one system and have been necessary since the development of reticulated and we combined scores for each of these three criteria without power [87]. where electricity is generated through Based on our criteria. gas and hydro-electric power stations) [90].e. to larger changes in demand occurring in the normal course of a day. To 2. we compared energy demand tion and safety equipment [87. 2). Heard et al.S. and adequately addressed. We gave studies not meeting a criterion a score of zero.. instantaneous and ongoing variation in load that scenario was seven. leaving a gap in the evidence relating major storm caused disturbances triggering the departure of to ancillary services and overall system reliability. occurs due to consumer behavior (e. The increase of making assumptions of extreme increases in electrification. This set of 28 included Projected 100%-renewable electricity systems are incomplete in the scenarios with strong mitigation of greenhouse-gas emissions in absence of evidence that essential. Unresolved challenges. scored zero (i. including distribution requirements With our four feasibility criteria we can assign scores for each individual study. Modeling the potential withdrawal of coal- [8]. 3 and 4 a maximum Ancillary services are a physical requirement of any electrical score of one. We also plotted actual (observed) annual maintained. either coal. (ii) the cost of meeting higher At any point in time. increased wind and solar penetration. diverges from ‘mainstream projections’. Network control ancillary services: voltage control show how widely each proposed global renewable energy scenario Voltage must be managed to within specified tolerances for insula.g. and (iii) maintaining reliability under operating band of ± 0.P. Results Instantaneous frequency control is typically provided by the inertia of ‘synchronous’ generators. 445 MW of wind generation. the rate of change of frequency exceeded prescribed limits. attempted to account for. partially addressed how ancillary services might be maintained in fired generation to meet Australia's COP-21 commitments suggests modified electricity-supply systems. and chronous generators. scenarios simulate system reliability over different time scales. all business and all industry in the state [92].1 Hz). Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 76 (2017) 1122–1133 2. In September tion-level infrastructure that would be required to accommodate 2016. If by high penetration of renewable energy sources. in a network that is connected to greater Europe another score of one to scenarios simulating to the five-minute interval. Government) [51]. even in a scenario that maintains gave a score of one to scenarios simulating supply to the hour. and only two scenarios. syn.94].1. 3. bids to the market by 116 connected generating units (a mixture of Twelve of the 24 relied on unrealistic energy-demand scenarios. The availability of ancillary services can be compromised weighting. address the criterion fully. Without adequate synchronous gen- eration. Our emphasis on Criterion 2 (higher relative weighting. The estimated economic impact of Our review revealed that among the 100% renewable-energy this event was AU$367 million [93]. Primary energy consumption in 2050 for the 1125 . we gave another score of one to scenarios that specifically largely unexamined and unresolved. Four scenarios tors from the market [89].. yet still did not Germany. increasing reliability toward 100% electrical system must be maintained close to the prescribed imparts exponentially rising costs. We plotted 28 control at distribution level has become a concern in markets with high demand scenarios from these three organizations in 10-year steps from penetration of solar photovoltaics [95–103]. [88].4.

These demand-side management. approximately 2. All WETO values are converted from million tonnes oil-equivalent.118]. scenarios [11.42. A recent critique highlights these and other tions of future demand. different proposed contends that the magnitude of energy demand must be adjusted to the systems. is therefore Jacobson et al. Summary of percentage changes in Total Primary Energy (TPE) from baseline to primary energy based on the ratio of primary to final energy provided in the years across nine scenarios of 100% renewable energy. Because of these issues. They also prematurely foreclose on the application of geothermal.60. The absence of whole-system simulations from nine of the reviewed The two global scenarios from environmental non-governmental studies suggests that many authors and organizations have either not organizations (WWF and Greenpeace) assumed that total (global) grasped or not tackled explicitly the challenge of ensuring reliable primary energy consumption in 2050 would be less than primary supply from variable sources. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 76 (2017) 1122–1133 Fig. but to either direct electrification or electrolytic hydrogen production. Additionally. [15]. In neither case rely on contraction in total primary energy in 2050 compared to today. yet they are assumed to provide dispatchable 1126 . such as synthetic fuels [68. primary energy). (ii) only 74% of the 2010 baseline for the WWF scenario) (Fig.24–28. European Commission [106]. We contend the limitations articulated in their supporting references or related cri- opposite is true. [24.112. Twenty- three of the 28 scenarios projected global primary energy to between 600 and 1000 EJ in the year 2050. Additional analysis from Lund et al. by as much as 30% in the case of the WWF scenario. For example. is evidence from system simulation provided for how this might occur. 2). The speculative storage assumptions used in these scenarios. and (iv) conversion of energy assumptions are clearly unrealistic. Comparison of scenarios for global primary energy from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). errors in the methodologies of Jacobson and co-authors [39]. Even in the baseline managing a system dominated by supply-driven sources is largely years. are inconsistent with the of the simulations [8. only two simulated demand at values consistent with the mainstream literature. tiques [35–38.27.113.P. [111] did not apply simulation processes to their own. several for the earlier primary energy assumptions. These to intervals of < 1 hour and only two tested against historically low scenarios assumed up to 100% transition of whole-of-economy energy renewable-energy conditions.2. so these scenarios represent low-prob. 2. To repeated in the Greenpeace scenario (Teske et al. A few scenarios [27. or 60% via all of the following: (i) grid-capacity improvements. approaches applied so far mostly cannot demonstrate the feasibility ally). scenarios ranges from 535 EJ for the US Climate Change Science or second-generation biofuels for transportation energy.4 billion people live in energy poverty [110].113. supply solutions must be scalable to realistic projec. Jacobson et al.43]. All WWF values were published as final energy only and are converted from final energy Fig.2% below the actual primary energy temperature nuclear reactors for industrial heat applications (or consumption figure for 2014) to 1431 EJ (165% above 2014 actual electricity generation) [115]. generation technologies. [15]). or only the share of energy from variable renewable sources could increase to 97% of the 2009 baseline for the Greenpeace scenario.20. and high- Program IGSM Level 1 scenario (1. the BP Statistical Review. All EIA values are converted from quadrillion British Thermal Units. instead referencing other studies to assert that on similarly unrealistic assumptions relating to steep reductions in system reliability is possible [8. the Climate Change Science Program (CCSP). challenges and realistic amount of supply from renewable sources.113] attempted to maintain final energy Of the 16 scenarios that provided simulations. (iii) storage. the system-simulation are unproven at large scales. System simulations reasonable spectrum of credible possibilities within which realistic 100%-renewable scenarios should lie (Fig.B. The median is 805 EJ (+49% above 2014). such as wave. [24. the World Energy Technology Organisation (WETO).119] assumed reliance on electricity- literature on future energy. [108] Teske et al. Several other national and regional scenarios were based doing simulations. Sources: US Energy Information Administration (EIA) [59]. tidal or enhanced dry rock ability outcomes. WWF assumes that by 2050 energy consumption in their respective baseline years (481 EJ. 1.117. [109]. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [105]. either technologically and/or economic. that are yet to be established on any comparable scale several potential technology pathways. Greenpeace values are converted from petajoules. 1). Jeffries et al.116] also proposed supply systems without implausible.19. let alone the attendant uncertainties associated with future using a range of technologies (most of which—beyond pumped hydro— climatic changes. Heard et al. nor did they address the uncertainties.38]. Human population will grow by excesses into storable hydrogen [108].116] primary energy (Fig. with such tests do not address the high variability of output from renewable reliance on flexibility of demand and/or widespread storage of energy resources. These 28 scenarios provide a 3.114] anywhere in the world.16. Baseline years vary among Greenpeace scenario.116. Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). as and reliability of 100% renewable energy systems. Historical testing is useful in general. and 358 EJ. 2). Van Vuuren et al. This suite of assumptions for about 3 billion compared with the baseline years.

1127 . The system would not. see offering no robust way of assessing the associated costs. Such work calls into question whether energy system simulations are valid when the system under simulation bears little resemblance to that in operation today. all years in a nation where electricity demand is forecast to grow by The Mason and colleagues’ studies reinforce the notion that 30% to 2050 [124]. That study did not consider demand considered any of the challenges that will be faced in redesigning variation on < 1-hr time scales and in terms of representativeness. Furthermore. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 76 (2017) 1122–1133 and baseload roles in the simulations. land use and water use. they also cautioned that such a from onshore wind and 20% from solar photovoltaic (with no storage). Those scenarios exploited two intrinsically ‘stored’ resources in particular: Table 1).5 million people). Any further inflexible solar photovoltaics were deployed to reach between 22% and 37% installed wind-generating capacity makes little difference in meeting of installed capacity. it further highlights the challenges that must be overcome to ensure reliability. violating the first criterion.e.27.5. Heard et al. can be cost-effective up to penetrations of around 20%. 3. [8] is the 3.104]. Low-cost. While the cost-effective realistic in demand and a mark for simulation to the hourly timescale.27. As such.P. To threshold for integration of variable renewable electricity will vary achieve reliability of supply. an unconstrained hydro ramping (i. and (iv) flexibility in demand ranging from 50% to 95% across different energy sectors. how the demand was to be tion supplies are required to meet the balance of supply [9. [75] claimed The other 22 studies make no reference to these challenges. The report from Australian Energy Market Operator Ltd.104] simulated 75–78% coincident low output from both wind and solar resources in of generated electricity coming from dispatchable sources of expanded.104. other studies have found biomass to be essential to ensure system reliability. However.121]. or one likely to be achieved in the foreseeable future.16. citing irreconcilable concerns relating to air to our minimum criteria. 3. 30 min) [112] offers a system simulation for the continental United States. Jacobson and Delucchi [24] excluded the use on every single day. strained hydroelectric output in the future.19.B. The subsequent attempted costing of this system is integration of variable renewable energy sources into existing grids therefore unrepresentative of the future range of possibilities. controlled was not discussed. Percentage contribution of biomass to total primary energy (TPE) (for scenarios Most of the studies that did system simulations [8. hydro-electricity and biomass. dispatchable supply Fig. a 100%-renewable electricity system on sub-hourly timescales [123].20. provided the consequences of only will therefore not account for these rapid fluctuations. Solar photovoltaic output with large endowments of hydro and geothermal resources and a small varies on timescales of minutes.e. the simulation would likely have unmet demand [8.104] included high proportions of dispatchable-generation [8.15. The only study we reviewed that simulated below half-hourly reliability (i. system is at or beyond globally known capabilities and this demands The scenario simulated hourly supply for a single year based on further assessment [8]. however. An upper threshold to supply-systems with conventional baseload profiles using biomass and economically rational amounts of wind generation capacity is also geothermal energy as continually available sources of generation.75. Solar shows promise in Australia. biomass typically filled the need for fully dispatchable supply shown in the cited report. be feasible according of biomass globally. is distribution networks to accommodate greater embedded generation.104]. with 46% of generation issues should be manageable. [9. providing between 2% and 70% of the electricity supplied under 100%-renewable scenar. (iii) nation-wide dependence on underground thermal-energy storage for space and water heating based on a system that has not yet been commissioned. There is ample evidence for conditions with sustained.24.11.19. Such conditions might converge with drought-con- unconstrained hydro-electricity and geothermal. [8] generated 2050-based integration costs escalate rapidly [120. the change in power flow from one assessment based on a single year's current demand and meteorologi- time unit to the next) are deemed acceptable for the operations of the cal record underestimates the system-wide reliability requirements in plant and the hydrology of the waterways [9.4. The results show a perfect match between supply and demand based on a renewable-energy scenario that assumed (i) expansion in the use of thermal stored energy (ii) total electrification of the United States’ whole-of-economy energy needs. and achieving this flexibility was not costed.3.. but with limitations only study in the published large-scale scenario literature to acknowl- edge the importance of maintaining ancillary services through the Scenarios for Australia drew heavily on solar-thermal technologies wholesale system redesign demanded by 100% renewable electricity. the scenario is unrealistic. [8] among grids. In other scenarios where high penetration of hydro power was not In the absence of this assumed “flexible” demand. Simulation to the one-hour timescale might be possible at reasonable cost. therefore.26. Australian Energy Market Operator Ltd. Finally. For New Zealand. limited by using a single simulation year (both common problems. However.11. We generously awarded these scenarios a mark as electricity demand in times of low wind supply. The review to meet the high reliability standard of Australia's National Electricity from Australian Energy Market Operator found that the operational Market of 99.119]. including some industrial applications (see Supplementary Material for further discussion). after which The Australian Energy Market Operator Ltd.. with large changes in output occurring population (4. Ancillary services largely ignored ios (Fig.75.122]. pollution. and solar photovoltaics. penetration thresholds exist and that alternative dispatchable genera- Unfortunately “flexible” was not defined. and based on values possible. sources for the provision of a reliable electricity system.108. 100%-renewable studies such as these reinforce that assumed that between 5% and 10% of demand in any hour is “flexible”. with energy storage. Elliston et al. Large. Australia [42]. Our framework applies no penalty against these technology assumptions. Mason et al. none of the studies we reviewed demand for the year 2010. found in simulations for the United Kingdom [27]. covering all energy) and to electricity production other selected scenarios 60.998% on a cost-optimized basis. 3). 3.

dispatchable clean energy technol- energy for both India and China. [118] PJM Interconnection 1 1 0 0 2 Elliston et al. It behooves policy makers to with it a minimum threshold of energy intensity for development [57].P. [112] Contiguous USA 0 3 0 0 3 Wright and Hearps [60] Australia (total) 0 2 1 0 3 Fthenakis et al. The authors describe this countries is crucially dependent on energy availability. regulations and markets around cement and steel. 23 either already relied directly on expanded storage to decrease by 2. The widespread assumptions of deep cuts in primary would nullify the proposed supply system. Such solutions will static or reduced primary energy consumption [125]. [40] found that scenarios with a decline in total primary energy discounted. the failure in any or several of these Our review of the 100%-renewable-scenario literature raises sub. The large decline in the IGSM Level 1 case is atypical and depends moving to 100% generation from renewables would require a lower on other assumptions made in that model. one that Hart and goals. of storage and associated paradigm shift required for 100% renewable 1128 .4–3. are generally incon. in applying so many assumptions to deliver changes far beyond historical precedents. A common assumption is is approximately twice the most rapid rates observed at the global scale that advances in storage technologies will resolve issues of reliability over the last four decades. [133] USA 0 2 0 0 2 Allen et al. undoubtedly assist in achieving reliability standards in systems with Many. If renewable resources that can occur seasonally. [125] found a range of ogies should be rejected a priori at the cost of uncertainty and upheaval energy-growth pathways from approximately +50 to +200% from 2005 required by 100%-renewable systems.06% yr−1. Achieving primary energy is an unlikely pathway to achieve these humanitarian such a paradigm shift is an unresolved challenge. or possibly all. with even technology. to 2030.25] Global 0 0 0 0 0 Jacobson et al. [22] Australia (NEM–only) 0 1 0 0. [17] Japan 1 1 0 0 2 Budischak et al. but also the controls. energy intensity of economies in the scenarios that assumed falling whether such breakthroughs will enable the (as yet unknown) scale primary energy demand might have individual elements of realism. present a fragile pathway.B.5 Australian Energy Market Operator (2) [8] Australia (NEM–only) 1 1 1 0.) [15] Global 0 0 0 0 0 4. But this misses the essential bound storage capacity of 65% of the peak demand to decouple most point that economic growth and poverty reduction in developing real-time generation from real-time demand. only five of the 24 studies demonstrated Whether these estimated required rates of decline in energy sub-hourly reliability. consumption from 2009 to 2050 required annual declines in energy Our review also found that reliability is usually only simulated to intensity (primary energy consumption GDP-1) of 3. Heard et al.72%. [113] California 0 0 0 0 0 Greenpeace (Teske et al.5 3. Yet in the 24 scenarios primary energy were not to increase. and to ask the Across a collation of 20 separately modelled scenarios of primary question of whether more mature. interrogate such pathways carefully and critically. assumptions regarding energy efficiency.7% yr−1. Our view is that they are California developed by Hart and Jacobson [126] suggested that not. [11] Macedonia 0 1 0 0 1 Elliston et al. respectively.29% and 2. For concision. That energy-intensive process likely brings that dictate how that fleet is operated. Loftus proposition of 100% renewable electricity must therefore be heavily et al. However.5 Lund and Mathiesen [16] Denmark 0 1 0 0 1 Cosic et al. A high-penetration renewable scenario for intensity are possible is a complex question. Blanford et al. Criteria are defined in Methods. [20] Portugal 1 1 0 0 2 Esteban et al.5 Jacobson et al. [19] Ireland 1 1 0 0 2 Fernandes and Ferreira [119] Portugal 1 1 0 0 2 Krajacic et al. the ‘Reliability’ column aggregates all four potential scores for reliability into a single score. As such. the energy intensities would have we examined. these storage assumptions. Discussion However. [27] Britain 0 2 0 0 2 Connolly et al.5 3. Despite 2050 (as in the WWF and Greenpeace scenarios). An expanded table is available in the Supplementary Material. [18] New York State 1 0 0 0 1 Price Waterhouse Coopers [10] Europe and North Africa 1 0 0 0 1 European Renewable Energy Council [26] European Union 27 1 0 0 0 1 ClimateWorks [116] Australia 1 0 0 0 1 World Wildlife Fund [108] Global 0 0 0 0 0 Jacobsen and Delucchi [24.104] New Zealand 1 2 1 0 4 Australian Energy Market Operator (1) [8] Australia (NEM–only) 1 1 1 0. None of those scenarios analyzed for these two countries — It is reasonable to assume a greater range of cost-effective options with a combined population of almost 2. 2. modified or discarded. and would likely raise problems for not exist and likely never will. ‘Coverage’ refers to the spatial/geographic area of each scenario. which the hour or half-hour in modelled scenarios. [75] Australia (NEM–only) 0 1 0 0 1 Jacobsen et al. or they described an implicit reliance on such technologies larger rates of increase if primary energy were to decrease from 2010 to without simulation support (see Supplementary Material). ‘Total’ means the aggregated score for the scenario across all criteria with a maximum possible score of 7. To move beyond subsistence economies. these systems energy consumption defy historical experience.5 billion people — suggested in energy storage will be available in the future. being conceived to power scenarios that do sistent with realistic projections. A reduction in as a “significant paradigm shift in the electric power sector”. The US Climate Change Science Program both at sub-hourly timescales and in situations of low availability of scenarios shed further light on energy-intensity requirements. developing nations Jacobson claim will require a willingness to transform not only a must accumulate the necessary infrastructure materially concentrated region's generating fleet. Criterion Study Coverage I (Demand) II (Reliability) III (Transmission) IV (Ancillary) Total Mason et al. electrification or flexible load stantial concerns. of the changes assumed to decrease the greater penetration of variable renewable generation. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 76 (2017) 1122–1133 Table 1 Summary of scoring against feasibility criteria for twenty-four 100% renewable energy scenarios.5 1. [9. The evidence from these studies for the developing countries in meeting goals of poverty alleviation.

Such costs are obscured unless modeling done at the necessary scales.101–103]. projects that on every year. Policy makers must to connectivity of habitat and deforestation [138]. Connolly et al. economic and social challenges that are largely electric developments in the Amazon will be major drivers of disruption unexamined in the 100% renewables literature. a transnational interconnection took more than 30 years hydro-electricity. of the four criteria we propose. trically opposed to other critical sustainability issues such as eradica. and social such breakthroughs is arguably risky and it is pertinent for policy justice for indigenous people [139]. even with the assumption of a 54% reduction is well-known and understood. Turner et al. generation (delivering 16% of supply) and 461 GWe of gas (delivering electricity. and to maintain stable system operations. [81] suggested that a cost-optimized transmission network to provided by storage is just 2–10% [128]. Rescoring all the studies excluding this in primary energy consumption. for minimum synchronous generation to remain online. research into how variable renewable sources such as wind can [140] suggested that short-rotation and coppice crops. meet a target of 80% renewables in Europe by 2050 would demand an Not accounting for the full range of variability of renewable energy additional 228.000 km of transmission grid extensions. Fürsch carbon generation as well as variable renewable generation. makers to recall that dependence on storage is entirely an artefact of The remaining feasibility gaps lie in the largely ignored. greater distances. the Zambezi River Basin [132]. the supply et al. An expansion of droughts are also projected to impact hydroelectric output negatively in that scale is no mere detail to be ignored. As well as the direct use of batteries or modified wind turbines. However. Becker et al. [83] concluded that to capacity factors for Hydro Portugal varied from 11. present technical. high-environmental.108] and many more et al. but are ultimately inevitable in a system that is relied slow projects. A practical portfolio of solutions to these challenge lies beyond 1129 .2% over 13 obtain 98% of the potential benefit of grid integration for renewables years to 2009 [20].7 electric output by more than half [130]. particularly contributions. The year-to-year variability tion compared to the base network. the mandated curtailing of supply from wind and photovoltaics in some impact future. preservation of biodiversity. Yet there has been limited or no effort. [21] frequency control. where the the impacts of worst-case conditions are expressly identified and necessary transmission network was identified and the power flows quantified. [19] calculated a biomass requirement that was production from variable and asynchronous sources. The range of year hourly or half-hourly data. network augmentation. this is an underestimate of inflows that ultimately determine hydro-electric output is well. [75].P. voltage requirements and ensuring robust reduction in primary energy consumption from the baseline year.24. from planning to completion [142]. For system-restart capabilities in 100% renewable systems with high Ireland. To bet the future on reduction in air pollution. coupled to an contribute actively to providing frequency control services is nascent extensive and logistically challenging fuel-distribution infrastructure. However.8% to 43. Proposed develop. The WWF scenario [108] demanded up to 250 million ha 149]. to identify and resolve renewable-energy conditions that of the studies we reviewed. [141] found that an Tasmania coincided with the failure of network interconnection and optimal four-fold increase in today's transmission capacity would need triggered an energy crisis for that state in 2015–2016 [131]. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 76 (2017) 1122–1133 remains unknown and is largely unaddressed in the literature (see tion of poverty. all work led by Jacobson [18. will raise costs and complexity through the need for additional capacity Recent work [143] demonstrates the importance of power-flow that will be redundant in most years.32. Proposed hydro. a +76% addi- resources is another area of vulnerability. Crawford et al. and aggregation then trucking the residual ash back to avoid long-term nutrient of distributed-storage systems via novel technology platforms [147– depletion. the system in question required 100 GWe of nuclear Resource variability is not the only concern regarding hydro. Extreme to be installed in the thirty years from 2020 to 2050. [144–146]. absolute reduction in primary energy from today. plausible outcomes in renewable energy availability. but also for wind. not only for In one case.1 million ha of criterion (effectively granting all the assumptions of a copperplate land to be committed to the growing of grasses. [133].128]. when combined with their dependence on hydro. dispatchable zero. The demand-reduction assumptions in most of the scenarios maintaining stability could require interventions that include payments considered here. were modelled. Nonetheless. decarbonized tribution systems. additional discussion in Supplementary Material). land conservation and reduced ecological footprints. 3). feasibility is still not met completely by any study (see and coppice crops (17% of UK land area) [27]. development electricity and biomass. along with another 4.25.B. where an increasing area of land is recruited into the supply situations [97. Record-low dam levels in times larger than current capacities. ments will also lead to displacement of indigenous populations [139]. because they applied a “typical day” approach to assess the availability known — the minimum annual US output over 1990–2010 was 23% of the renewable-energy resources instead of using full year or multi- lower than mean output for the same period [129]. as it has been in Elliston et al. would require long-distance interconnector capacities that are 5. solar and commercial biomass. and even likely to be achievable only in a low-energy. There is a much research examining the role of batteries in would be required to meet energy requirements.112. In that study. be aware of this gap. Rodríguez et al. The state of 60% of the total potential biomass resource in Ireland. The realization of market operations will be required to accommodate energy sources 100% renewable electricity (and energy more broadly) appears diame. that are euphemistically described as “flexible” [151]. the individual requirement of long-distance interconnection [27] is a typical example. transmission networks Perhaps our most concerning finding relates to the dependence of could arguably be regarded as more a matter of viability than 100% renewable scenarios on biomass (see Fig. Lund and Mathiesen additional Table in Supplementary Material). in a scenario of 53% synchronous generation. taking 5–10 years on average to construct. [16] described how Denmark would need to reorganize farming from The same grace cannot be granted for maintaining sufficient wheat to corn to produce the requisite biomass. In optimal systems for reliable. we found nothing approaching a clear understanding of for biomass production for energy.5 billion m3 of the scale of intervention that might be required for maintaining these biomass from existing production forests to meet a scenario of an services in 100% renewable electricity systems in large markets [150]. Recent drought has reduced California's hydro.113]. indicating growing understanding of the potential proposed trucking and burning Australia's agricultural residue. prototype large grid-connected projects. the expanded transmission requirements will evidently for the rivers and forests of the Amazon [134–137]. the global with the exception of studies by Mason et al. The British scenario feasibility. yet deliberately constraining the options for dispatchable low-carbon essential requirements for expanded transmission and enhanced dis- generation [127. Ensuring stable supply and reliability against all are vulnerable to social objection that may force even more delay [82]. suggest that 100% renewable electricity is of new markets in ancillary services. both to transport electricity from more sources over electricity systems that have included generic. Others have suggested that changes in service of providing energy from diffuse sources. biomass requires 4. and applications. short-rotation forestry network).104] and Fthenakis proposals from major environmental NGOs [15. The widespread potential disruption to rivers and associated 21% of supply). [9. Heard et al. In the absence of such baseload and dispatchable habitats from hydro-electric dams are well documented. Transmission lines are acknowledged as are not ‘typical’.

With our simple scoring system. and giving this work scored 3 for a fine-grained timescale simulation. such a simulation are likely to be meaningless because the underlying A change in approach by both researchers and policy makers is assumptions are unrealistic. because it provides valuable insights in development to continue apace while rapidly reducing greenhouse gas several areas and explores useful assessment methods. Such a mix provides some certainty at the outset in terms of system reliability We thank P. Solokowski (Institute of Electrical and Electronics and power quality. In turn. It behooves all governments and institutions to seek framework to be developed that reflects these interdependencies. batteries) [101. Contribution of Working Group I to the FifthAssessment Report of the to push the 100%-renewable ideal without critical evaluation has Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The Australian Research Council (ARC) sup- ported T. For electricity. Preston (Electric Reliability Council of Texas and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and K. use. In Germany where penetration ironically delayed the identification and implementation of effective of solar photovoltaic systems is the highest in the world. and materials consumption. pace of roll-out.B. Caldeira for 6. Cambridge. aspects such as financial cost. et al. optimized blends of all available low-carbon technologies. [101]. land Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature. to electrification. but they might also show even more strongly that a broader References mix of non-fossil energy technologies is necessary. Supplementary data associated with this article can be found in the Addressing the identified gaps will likely yield improved technologies online version at doi:10. United Kingdom and 1130 . have substantially underestimated the [2] IPCC. Engineers). We argue that the early overloading is leading to grid-reinforcement requirements expected exclusion of other forms of technology from plans to decarbonize the to cost €21–27 billion [E-bridge consulting cited in 96]. efforts to assess the viability of 100% renewable systems. a study can achieve relatively low scores. supply-and-demand system to enable renewable supplies to approach the reliability of current systems. preventing export from photovoltaics to the assumptions regarding the scale of energy demand. grow food.L. the emissions from electricity generation and other demands for energy. compelling evidence for the feasibility of Our sobering results show that a 100% renewable electricity supply 100% renewable electricity systems in relation to this criterion is would. Yet the study itself can be meritorious for its quality in areas it demands of 10 billion people or more. Painting R. voltage and comprehensive decarbonization pathways.8:024024. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 76 (2017) 1122–1133 current operational knowledge [8. this under. demand a reinvention of the entire electricity absent. Our assessment of studies proposing 100% renewable-electricity systems reveals that in all individual cases and across the aggregated Appendix A.. Green SA. plus expanded transmission renewable pathways as we depart from well-known and understood networks. We did not renewable electricity systems do not satisfy many of the characteristics penalize these cases. low-carbon electricity-generation systems that are scalable to the criteria. Heard et al. partial solutions include intelligent operation of distributed energy For the developing world. It seems likely that current research of decades past. synchronous hydro and geothermal. This would move humanity away 5. For example. assumptions that feeder. To date. not less energy. energy sources. The reality is that 100% made unrealistic assumptions in setting up the simulation. and active and reactive power control from the photovoltaic unit Other outcomes in sustainability. Uniting the alleviation of poverty with a successful climate-change scores the issue of achieving reliability with electricity-generation response in our energy and electricity systems should be an interna- systems that vary over time.. technology rationally exploited for its respective strengths to pursue which might suggest it lacks breadth of coverage of the feasibility clean. It would be irresponsible to restrict our options between 1-4 depending on the time-scale of the simulation). (DP130103261). representing a loss of income to the owner of the photovoltaics) lack historical precedent and fall outside all mainstream forecasts.104].03. Potential global electricity supply is unsupportable. but have to renewable energy technologies alone. The unsubstantiated premise that renewable energy systems electricity systems into novel approaches that rely on reinvented alone can solve challenge of climate change risks a repeat of the failure networks with greater complexity. in: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science challenge of excising fossil fuels from our energy supplies. Summary for Policymakers.1016/j.e. safeguarding human development outcomes. The climate change problem is so severe that we and applications will boost the potential role for variable renewable cannot afford to eliminate a priori any carbon-free technologies. and otherwise live our lives. Supporting information evidence.99.2017. importance of simulating supply to meet demand. some tional goal. A.101]. approximately 80% of present and the future. There is potential for a more useful therefore required. criteria of ancillary services will be of varying importance depending on Anything less is an abrogation of our responsibilities to both the the proposed mix of technologies.P. with each Under our framework. However. demanding more advanced inverters [96. important progress in human develop- storage (i.M. demand cally — specifically if there are major deficiencies in other areas. Limitations of our framework from known. This is likely to require revolutionary changes in the way we specific item scores might be unjustified when assessed more holisti. manage land. Richardson M. We highlight the work of Elliston break the energy paradox of the last twenty years and permit human et al. E. occupy homes and buildings. [112] is an example of of an urgent response to climate change: highest certainty and lowest this because it depends strongly on extraordinary assumptions relating risk-of-failure pathways. at the very least. Conclusions review and discussion. energy storage and flexibility in demand. Finally. and market structures that facilitate greater uptake of renewable energy. active ment would be threatened under scenarios applying unrealistic power curtailment (i.W.rser. understood and operationally successful systems into uncertain futures with many dependencies for success and unanswered The scoring system we developed and applied emphasizes the challenges in basic feasibility. taking into account [1] Cook J. the case for feasibility is inadequate for the formation of responsible policy directed at responding to climate change. Nuccitelli D. social justice and social cohesion will itself. the results of the most benefit at the lowest cost.88].114. This desire Basis. the proposed renewable generation for New Zealand comes from dispatchable. It is axiomatic also be threatened by pursuing maximal exploitation of high-impact that these requirements add to the uncertainty surrounding 100% sources like hydro-electricity and biomass. some studies have done system simulations (earning a score more. Only by doing so can we hope to has specifically chosen to address. Although having the potential for high consensus and low resistance. Such changes will require example.e. social acceptance. The work of Jacobson et al. grid reinforcement [101]. and arguably reckless. Environ Res Lett 2013.102]. [75] as one such example. with < 20% of Acknowledgements supply from wind and no embedded solar generation [9. Winkler B.

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