"Wind and solar power is too intermittent/sporadic"

Brief Responses to Climate Change Denialism Statements

CPSG 200 Science & Global Change Sophomore Colloquium

"Wind and Solar power is too intermittent/sporadic"

Neither wind nor solar power can supply 100% of our energy demand by themselves. Instead, they work in tandem to compensate for each other's weaknesses. While they are technically intermittent, wind and solar power's categorization as ''intermittent'' does not translate to an inability to provide a generous amount of energy. Solar and wind energy both depend on changes in climate and weather. However, these changes are predictable and can easily be accounted for when calculating how much energy can be provided and where it will be distributed.

The intermittency of solar and wind energy can be accounted for by placing solar panels and wind turbines in locations that will optimize their power output. Furthermore, as battery technology continues to improve, we have better and better ways of storing our energy for when the sun isn't shining or when the wind isn't blowing. In fact, there are battery packs available now for home and commercial use that solve solar intermittency. When the sun isn't shining, your home will switch to battery power. And when the sun is shining, the solar panels will power your home and charge the battery pack at the same time.

Despite people thinking that wind and solar is an impractical solution for our future, four states in Germany were already relying on wind power for up to 52% of their electric power needs by 2010, without facing any major crises. A recent study also showed that the grid in Europe will be able to handle up to 70% of electrical energy from wind despite its intermittency. Overall, the challenge of overcoming the intermittency of many renewable resources is far less than the challenges we are facing and will face if we do not make the switch.

For More Information:
  • Fares, R. 11 March 2015. "Renewable Energy Intermittency Explained: Challenges, Solutions, and Opportunities". Plugged In. Accessed 22 October 22, 2017.
  • Provenzano, V. 12 August 2013. The intermittency of Wind and Solar: Is it Only Intermittently a Problem? Clean Technica. Accessed 22 October 2017.
  • Tan, S. H. 1 Nobvember 2011. Solar Itermittency: How Big is the Problem? Renewable Energy World. Accessed 22 October 2017.

    Contributed by: Matthew Ye, Gabbie Knauer, Jillian Yagoda

    Last modified: 22 October 2017