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Is Bigger Best in Renewable Energy?

Is Bigger Best in Renewable Energy?

Full Title: Is Bigger Best in Renewable Energy?
Author(s): John Farrell
Publisher(s): Institute for Local Self-Reliance
Publication Date: September 1, 2016
Full Text: Download Resource
Description (excerpt):

In a 100% renewable energy future, there’s room for big, utility­-scale wind and solar and distributed renewables, too. Understanding the relative cost of our investments matters, because resources are limited. But understanding the relative benefits (and the recipients) matters, because making the transition doesn’t require us to remain married to a century­-old and increasingly archaic business model.

The economic arguments between big and small can’t be taken at face value, because the largest players have a vested (dare I say oversized?) interest in the outcome. Can scale economies generate cheaper electricity? Sometimes. But smaller renewable energy systems can also compete at the retail level, where their relative benefit (and the costs they offset) is also higher.

The choice between big and small is more than a spreadsheet analysis. Instead, it’s an argument about whether the economic windfall of the renewable energy transition will accrue to the incumbent players or whether tapping the wind and sun in communities across America will result in benefits everyone can share.

All statements and/or propositions in discussion prompts are meant exclusively to stimulate discussion and do not represent the views of, its Partners, Topic Directors or Experts, nor of any individual or organization. Comments by and opinions of Expert participants are their own.

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