Currently, fossil fuels are the world’s primary energy source. However, the burning of fossil fuels, for energy, has many negative side effects. There is a growing consensus that burning fossil fuels leads to the greenhouse effect and global warming. The supply of fossil fuels is also finite. Thus, a clean and renewable energy source must eventually replace fossil fuels as our energy source. Wind power is currently the fastest growing, and most efficient, form of renewable energy. Wind power has the potential to unite profitable business with the protection of the environment. However, there are currently many non-price barriers that prohibit wind power from achieving its full potential. This paper takes a qualitative approach. Seven people involved with the wind industry are interviewed. This data is used to determine what barriers to wind power exist and how these barriers can be overcome. It also explores the need for the development of a Smart Grid to achieve the large-scale integration of renewable energy. The majority of the non-price barriers can be alleviated; however, the need for a Smart Grid still remains.
Pricing of electricity has caused a disconnect between the consumer and producers. Current methods for pricing electricity are non-inventive and do not reflect the actual costs of production. If producers were capable of monitoring electricity use by the end user, they could potentially assess greater fees associated with consumption during specified periods. To gain access to critical usage information, producers are testing out the theory of a smartgrid. This proposed smartgrid is a system of communicating, actuating and reporting devices that give system operators the capability to observe consumption on a scale unseen before. Price signals from new dynamic pricing plans motivate consumers to change their consumption habits. Producer’s main goal is to slow the growth and intensity of daily and annual “peaks” in energy consumption. By helping to lower peak, consumers have the potential to encounter lower energy bills, more accessible alternatives to carbon based energy and potentially, profit from the sale of electricity back to the grid through smartgrid technologies. This paper uses information from the SmartGridCity project by Xcel Energy in Boulder, Colorado. Raw data from multiple pilot programs in Denver, Colorado, and consumption data from Colorado Springs Utilities is also used. A smartgrid enabled society with access to dynamic electricity rates shows to be a step forward in the solution making processes surrounding the use of energy.
Grid Parity is considered a milestone in the Photovoltaic industry, because it is the point in time that solar energy becomes cheaper than traditional energy. The term has often been used to describe the progress of the solar industry, and spur investment. One problem with "Grid Parity" however, is that the term can take on a variety of meanings, and can be calculated in numerous ways. Using a series of mathematical models it is shown empirically that the term "Grid Parity" is incapable of being precise without a detailed description of variables. These variables will be named and detailed for the state of Oregon, and suggestions will be made for reducing the time to "Grid Parity" of Photovoltaic system in the state.