The Resource Problem
Clean energy resources are more and more unstable, as the effects of climate volatility increase with temperature. Across the globe Hydro resource are shifting locations and intensity profiles. The distribution of fixed sunk debt (dams and hydroelectric) and the resources have diverged completely from the distrbution at the time of deployment. This is accelerating.
Hydroelectricity supplies the majority of the world’s renewable energy (RE), but RE’s resources have become extremely variable and volatile with climate change.
RE needs a redesign.
The resources are mobile. Demand is variable. Without equipment mobility, current resource risk has and will induce ever greater economic risk and instability in RE projects, leading to abandoned assets and the need for ever more capacity to make up for the divergence between planned and actual performance.
Volatility is not just a geospatial problem for clean energy from RE to nuclear. Temporal volatility such as the Oroville having 1 months of water in 4 days also has significant performance effects which are hidden by the propensity to study means which mathematically serve to damp evidence of volatility and thereby landscape understanding.
Fixed 30 year lifetime equipment design in volatile conditions induce severe economic risks, and ROI failure both economically and societally.
All resource or demand volatility effects utilization rates and thereby damages debt payment capability. Maximizing utilization maximize profit. Poor utilization leads to losses and stranded assets. This an economic law, that is generally ignored in energy planning.
The economic methodology applied to energy is incomplete and oversimplified by mean analytical methods such as LCOE which do little to characterize the actual operating economics of the systems or its market positioning. Fundamental problems with the economic understanding have led to wide deployment of systems that have distinct critical failure point related to climate volatility they failed to solve or even effect in the slightest. In 20 years there has been no reductive effect on the Fossil share or GHG growth rates.
If a product lacks the necessary features to leverage the landscape, it will fail at a rate in direct proportion to the divergence from the optimal. Product penetration is wholly dependent of having the right the properties necessary for share penetration. which in turn is wholly dependent on understanding the properties of the landscape. 20 year with no results means the properties are misunderstood.
Smarter RE design is critical to viable climate mitigation and adaptation
What does that look like in practice?