The Institute of Political Economy (IPE) at Utah State University has released a new set of reports titled: Reliability of Renewable Energy. These reports are an examination of the five most common sources of renewable electricity generation: wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, and hydro. The studies assess each source’s economic, physical, and environmental aspects.

Each of the sections has the following available for download: the full and condensed reports published by IPE, along with a summary one-page document, infographic and videos produced by Strata.

View the Press Release here.

RELIABILITY OF RENEWABLE ENERGY

RELIABILITY OF RENEWABLE ENERGY: WIND


Many Americans are looking to limit the use fossil fuels. Policymakers have responded by subsidizing and mandating wind-generated electricity. These government policies drive the growth of wind power, not market forces. One way to determine whether policymakers have made beneficial decisions regarding wind power is to examine its reliability as an energy source. In the Reliability of Renewable Energy: Wind report, the Institute of Political Economy (IPE) at Utah State University examined wind power’s economic, physical, and environmental implications to assess its overall reliability. IPE found that wind power is not a reliable energy source or a worthwhile investment of tax dollars.

RELIABILITY OF RENEWABLE ENERGY: SOLAR


Many Americans are looking to limit the use of fossil fuels, and policymakers have responded by subsidizing and mandating solar-generated electricity. These government policies drive the growth of solar power, not market forces. One way to determine whether policymakers have made beneficial decisions regarding solar power is to examine its reliability as an energy source. In the Reliability of Renewable Energy: Solar report, the Institute of Political Economy (IPE) at Utah State University examined the economic, physical, and environmental implications of solar power’s reliability. IPE found that solar power is an unreliable source of electricity. Because solar power is not reliable, subsidizing solar power is a misallocation of taxpayer dollars.

RELIABILITY OF RENEWABLE ENERGY: BIOMASS


Many Americans are looking to limit the use of fossil fuels, which has led policymakers to mandate and subsidize biomass-generated electricity. Biomass is organic matter such as wood, grasses, or crop residues that are burned to produce electricity, much like coal. Despite government assistance, biomass only generated 1.7 percent of U.S. electricity in 2014. In the Reliability of Renewable Energy: Biomass report, the Institute of Political Economy (IPE) at Utah State University examined the economic, physical, and environmental implications of biomass power to determine its overall reliability as an energy source. IPE found that biomass electricity production, in many cases, is expensive, inefficient, and environmentally damaging. As such, the costs of subsidies and mandates for the biomass industry impose higher costs on taxpayers and energy consumers with limited environmental benefits.

RELIABILITY OF RENEWABLE ENERGY: GEOTHERMAL


Many Americans are looking to limit the use of fossil fuels, which has led policymakers to mandate and subsidize renewable energy sources like geothermal power. Despite government assistance, geothermal power only generated 0.4 percent of U.S. electricity in 2014. In the Reliability of Renewable Energy: Geothermal report, the Institute of Political Economy (IPE) at Utah State University examined the economic, physical, and environmental implications of geothermal power to determine its overall reliability as an energy source. IPE found that geothermal electricity production is physically reliable and more environmentally friendly than fossil fuels, but it is not economically reliable without government subsidies in many cases.

RELIABILITY OF RENEWABLE ENERGY: HYDRO


Americans are becoming more concerned about climate change and environmental quality, and many want to see an increase in renewable energy sources. Hydropower has been an important source of renewable energy in the United States for over a century. About six percent of U.S. electricity came from hydropower in 2014, but the country has an untapped infrastructure of non-powered dams and conduits that could be retrofitted with hydroelectric turbines to increase renewable energy production. The Institute of Political Economy (IPE) at Utah State University explored the reliability of hydropower in the Reliability of Renewable Energy: Hydro report. IPE found that hydropower is a reliable source of electricity, but unnecessary and overly burdensome government regulations often limit access to this clean energy source.