Uppsala University, Phys.org
In Sweden, we get as much energy from nuclear power (40–45 per cent) as from hydropower. This is followed by wind power at 10–14 per cent. Credit: Istockphoto
Can we get by on just renewable energy? Can energy from the sun, wind and water cover our electricity needs – even on a windless, overcast day in Scandinavia? Perhaps, but it makes new demands.
The Nordic countries could meet their energy needs simply by expanding renewable energy, according to a study from Uppsala University. But there are several challenges along the way, according to Mikael Bergkvist, researcher in electricity.
"In the study, we were able to show that it's not obviously impossible even if it would be difficult within the near future."
The difficulty of electricity production is that it takes place in real time – the electricity that is needed right now must be produced right now. At the same time, our electricity consumption varies every hour of the day all year long. The more dependent we are on intermittent sources, such as wind power, the greater the demands are on flexible balance regulating power.