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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Natgas as bridge fuel gets boost

A new report from Lux Research finds that solar power will become competitive with natural gas-fired electricity globally by 2025, and - as others have found - that solar and natgas could form a symbiotic relationship with the development of hybrid technologies that use both sources.

The results are summed up here:
"On the macroeconomic level, a ‘golden age of gas’ can be a bridge to a renewable future as gas will replace coal until solar becomes cost competitive without subsidies,” Lux research associate Ed Cahill said in a statement. “On the microeconomic level, solar integrated with natural gas can lower costs and provide stable output."
That integration of solar and gas is described by Think Progress as: 
hybrid plants that combine solar and natural gas power through a variety of methods. The solar portion of the system would protect against price swings for natural gas, while the natural gas portion would ensure a reliable electricity supply on days when sunlight is intermittent. Lux even raises the possibility of gas-powered microturbines that can be installed in an individual home and integrated with a rooftop solar array as a form of distributed generation.
This symbiotic use of solar and natgas cold significantly advance the adoption of renewable power generally:
(T)his sort of piggybacking could bring intermittent renewable power to 25 percent of the U.S. grid’s power supply without compromising stability — with the possibility to go as high as 45 percent.
A bridge to a renewable future can be built - if we have the will, and the right energy and regulatory policies. Will we build it?

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