Response to ‘Burden of proof: A comprehensive review of the feasibility of 100% renewable-electricity systems’

Response to ‘Burden of proof: A comprehensive review of the feasibility of 100% renewable-electricity systems’

Highlights
• We respond to a recent article that is critical of the feasibility of 100% renewable-electricity systems.

• Based on a literature review we show that none of the issues raised in the article are critical for feasibility or viability.

• Each issue can be addressed at low economic cost, while not affecting the main conclusions of the reviewed studies.

• We highlight methodological problems with the choice and evaluation of the feasibility criteria.

• We provide further evidence for the feasibility and viability of renewables-based systems.

Abstract
A recent article ‘Burden of proof: A comprehensive review of the feasibility of 100% renewable-electricity systems’ claims that many studies of 100% renewable electricity systems do not demonstrate sufficient technical feasibility, according to the criteria of the article’s authors (henceforth ‘the authors’). Here we analyse the authors’ methodology and find it problematic. The feasibility criteria chosen by the authors are important, but are also easily addressed at low economic cost, while not affecting the main conclusions of the reviewed studies and certainly not affecting their technical feasibility. A more thorough review reveals that all of the issues have already been addressed in the engineering and modelling literature. Nuclear power, which the authors have evaluated positively elsewhere, faces other, genuine feasibility problems, such as the finiteness of uranium resources and a reliance on unproven technologies in the medium- to long-term. Energy systems based on renewables, on the other hand, are not only feasible, but already economically viable and decreasing in cost every year. [Lire plus]