Publication Date

Fall 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Meteorology and Climate Science


Patrick Brown; Craig Clements; Alison Bridger


Energy grids around the world are becoming increasingly penetrated by renewable energy sources, resulting in progressively variable energy generation. This study aims to provide a fundamental basis for observing atmospheric conditions in relation to weather-dependent renewable energy supply, where daily synoptic-scale influences are considered in hypothetical fully electrified North American interconnections. Three renewable energy types – 100% wind energy, 100% solar energy, and a 50-50 split of wind and solar energy – are scaled to meet weather-driven energy demand on average in three interconnections, namely the Western Interconnection, the Eastern Interconnection, and a hypothetical combined interconnection composed of the Western, Eastern, and Texas (ERCOT) Interconnections. This is done in order to test the following hypotheses: 1) Utilizing wind and solar energy simultaneously decreases variability and 2) Pooling energy resources across the continent decreases variability for all interconnections. By comparing the magnitudes of net renewable energy supply shortfall events, or periods of renewable energy supply failing to meet consumer energy demand, Hypothesis 1 is supported while Hypothesis 2 is rejected. It is critical to note that this study is conducted with the following limitations: 1) spatial averaging spanning entire interconnections, 2) consumer demand solely based on surface temperatures, 3) no renewable energy storage options, and 4) daily data.

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Meteorology Commons