On September 12, 2017, Hillsborough became the first town in North Carolina to commit to 100% renewable energy, joining 43 other U.S. localities in making the pledge. In addition, the RE 100 has fostered commitments from 116 corporations, while over 1,100 individual businesses have pledged to maintain commitments under the Paris Climate Accord. However, questions remain about how these entities can accomplish 100% renewable energy goals and the full economics of such goals.
This study, sponsored by the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise and the Kenan-Flagler Energy Center, analyzes the economic cost of renewable energy’s ‘last frontier’, providing reliable baseload power. The analysis utilizes five financial and energy models to examine the cost of replacing baseload power with various energy sources to achieve fully decarbonized utility scale electricity generation:
While similar studies on reaching 100% renewable energy have been authored, the purpose of our research is to form reasonable debates today around the cost of solar and wind profiles matching a reliable baseload profile, and the following themes implicated in the study: