Wow. Willett Kempton, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Delaware, released the findings of a multiyear study last week at Washington University. After four years of collecting data, Kempton shared the details of his groundbreaking findings, which may shake up what we thought we understood about renewable energy — with big implications for the Midwest.

I have only read this information today and would really like to wrap my mind around this new information. The numbers Professor Kempton shared rock the understandings and assumptions energy professionals have held to for years.

One such finding, as reported in the St. Louis Beacon is, “Kempton found one could run 99.9 percent of a major power grid off renewables. He said previous estimates had put the magic figure closer to 20 percent without the use of large, expensive batteries. If the professor is correct, it makes variable generation and the clean alternative fuels it uses a far more viable option than once thought.”

If the findings of this report bear to be true, the face of utility planning and the growth of renewables could be an even brighter future for our region of the country with a myriad of positive impacts both economic and environmental.

posted by Kate Van Cantfort, Communications Director, Climate +Energy Project