Choosing electricity generation technologies
Electricity generation technologies all have advantages and disadvantages. Renewable technologies such as solar and wind use “free” resources and don’t produce harmful greenhouse gases, but are not always available when needed and require significant amounts of land. Technologies such as coal and nuclear produce electricity in large quantities reliably around the clock, but result in significant greenhouse gases (in the case of coal) and long-term waste disposal considerations (in the case of nuclear).
Recognizing these tradeoffs helps everyone understand the importance of a diverse array of technologies for reducing carbon dioxide emissions while economically and reliably meeting electricity demand and complying with existing environmental regulations. When properly applied as part of an integrated portfolio, all generation technologies play useful roles that capitalize on their strengths.
For an assessment of the benefits and impacts related to the different types of generation technologies, visit the Electric Power Research Institute’s (EPRI) generation technologies assessment.