WSJ: Power Grid Operators Warn Renewable Energy Could Cause Blackouts

Essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Dr. Willie Soon; “… The challenge is that wind and solar farms—which are among the cheapest forms of power generation—don’t produce electricity at all times …”

Electricity Shortage Warnings Grow Across U.S.

Power-grid operators caution that electricity supplies aren’t keeping up with demand amid transition to cleaner forms of energy

By Katherine Blunt May 8, 2022 5:33 am ET

From California to Texas to Indiana, electric-grid operators are warning that power-generating capacity is struggling to keep up with demand, a gap that could lead to rolling blackouts during heat waves or other peak periods as soon as this year.

California’s grid operator said Friday that it anticipates a shortfall in supplies this summer, especially if extreme heat, wildfires or delays in bringing new power sources online exacerbate the constraints. The Midcontinent Independent System Operator, or MISO, which oversees a large regional grid spanning much of the Midwest, said late last month that capacity shortages may force it to take emergency measures to meet summer demand and flagged the risk of outages. In Texas, where a number of power plants lately went offline for maintenance, the grid operator warned of tight conditions during a heat wave expected to last into the next week.

The challenge is that wind and solar farms—which are among the cheapest forms of power generation—don’t produce electricity at all times and need large batteries to store their output for later use. While a large amount of battery storage is under development, regional grid operators have lately warned that the pace may not be fast enough to offset the closures of traditional power plants that can work around the clock.

Faced with the prospect of having to call for blackouts when demand exceeds supply, many grid operators are now grappling with the same question: How to encourage the build-out of batteries and other new technologies while keeping traditional power plants from closing too quickly.

Read more:

In my opinion this WSJ article verges on deceptive.

Wall Street Journal author Katherine Blunt did not mention the hideous cost of batteries, instead implying that the slow pace of backup battery installation is because of supply chain problems and inflation.

The Wall Street Journal article also described solar and wind as the “cheapest forms of power generation”, without qualifying this statement by adding the cost of the power storage capacity required to make renewable energy reliable, the cost of massive renewable energy overcapacity required to charge the batteries during good times, and maintain power supply during mediocre times, and the cost of upgrading and maintaining an enlarged power distribution network, to ship renewable energy from the frequently remote renewable generation sources to cities and industrial complexes where the energy is needed.

Once you factor in these renewable specific additional costs, renewable energy is very expensive indeed.

via Watts Up With That?

May 10, 2022 at 12:19AM

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