Welcome to the inglorious green revolution, where the lives of ageing gas power plants have to be extended and various other mini ‘solutions’, some relying on equipment owned by individual citizens, have to be adopted in a frantic effort to keep the lights on. Of course none of this was necessary before renewables were deemed to be the future of electricity supply, in the vain hope of altering the climate. What’s next if these measures are not enough?
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Sometime next summer, there’s a decent chance a heat wave will bake the American West, and California’s power grid will again be stretched to its limits, says TechXplore.
As the sun sets, solar panels will start generating less electricity even as temperatures remain high.
Power plants that burn natural gas will fire up as quickly as possible, in a race to keep air conditioners blowing and avert the need for rolling blackouts.
But the fossil fuel won’t be alone in riding to the rescue.
As power supplies tighten, lithium-ion batteries—some connected to sprawling solar farms in the desert and others tucked away in household garages—will dispense electricity produced during the afternoon sunlight.
A small but growing number of household batteries will be part of coordinated networks, discharging in unison as dictated by the needs of the grid.
Meanwhile, millions of people will cut back on electricity use in their homes, in some cases because state officials asked nicely and in others because they’re getting paid to conserve.
Many will have agreed in advance to have their air conditioners automatically turned down a few degrees, or their refrigerators briefly powered down.
As California works to build a future without fossil fuels, electricity generation isn’t just getting cleaner—it’s getting smaller and nimbler.
Big power plants and far-flung transmission lines are increasingly being joined by programmable thermostats, solar-charged batteries and even electric cars as key tools for balancing supply and demand.
These technologies currently play a small role. But supporters say they can help California avoid a repeat of the rolling blackouts that afflicted a few hundred thousand homes and businesses when a regional heat wave struck last August—the type of extreme weather that’s becoming disturbingly common as the world heats up because of the burning of fossil fuels [Talkshop comment – evidence-free assertions].
Nobody knows what kind of weather next summer will bring, and several thousand megawatts of new power capacity already are scheduled to come online in the coming months, mostly large batteries.
But state officials are scrambling to find additional energy resources that can be added to the grid—and six months isn’t enough time to build the type of centralized infrastructure historically favored by utilities and regulators.
Full article here.
via Tallbloke’s Talkshop
January 8, 2021 at 08:51AM