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NOAA visits Sheffield

On the 18th June, one of NOAA’s research scientists, Dr Chris Clack, visited the University to talk about “Low Cost and Low Carbon Emission Wind and Solar Energy Systems are Feasible for Large Geographic Domains”.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce focused on the conditions of the oceans and the atmosphere.   NOAA research is extensive and amongst its work the agency warns of dangerous weather and conducts research to improve understanding and stewardship of the environment.

Chris’ talk detailed a tool that has been developed by the research team over two years, which optimises the location and type of energy source across the US, according to real demand. The tool has been constructed to include salient features of the electrical grid, such as; transmission, construction and siting constraints, reserve requirements, electrical losses due to transmission, asynchronous regions, “reliability” enforcement, capital costs, fuel costs, and many others.

The tool shows that with achievable estimates of wind and solar generation costs, that the US could decrease its carbon emissions by up to 80% by the early 2030s, without an increase in electric costs.  A significant outcome of the work is that large geographic areas reduce costs and increase carbon mitigation.

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Picture (from left to right):  Dr Lisa Clark, Dr Chris Clack, Prof Lenny Koh, Dr Alastair Buckley, Jamie Taylor

Team Members: Dr Alexander MacDonald, Dr Christopher Clack, Ms Anneliese Alexander, Cmd Adam Dunbar, Dr James Wilczak, Dr Yuanfu Xie.

Chris Clack is a mathematician with the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences in Boulder, Colorado. He is the technical lead in a team studying site optimization for wind and solar energy.

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