More Green Blackouts Ahead

Source: The Wall Street Journal (behind paywall).

Wednesday’s lead editorial at WSJ defines the causes of electrical grid vulnerability:

Regulators have been warning for years that the grid is becoming shakier as cheap natural gas and heavily subsidized renewables replace steady coal and nuclear baseload power. “The nation’s power grid will be stressed in ways never before experienced” due to “an unprecedented resource-mix change,” the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) warned in 2011.

It added: “Environmental regulations are shown to be the number one risk to reliability over the next one to five years.” But the Obama Federal Energy Regulatory Commission(FERC) refused to consider how climate policies would affect reliability. Since 2011 about 90 gigawatts (GW) of coal capacity have shut down, replaced by some 120 GW of wind and solar and 60 GW of gas power capacity.

But renewables don’t generate power around-the-clock as gas, nuclear and coal do. Gas plants depend on just-in-time fuel deliveries, which aren’t reliable in extreme weather. Government-made pipeline bottlenecks constrain deliveries in the Northeast. Liberals also say Texas could have better weathered the Arctic blast if its grid didn’t rely almost entirely on in-state power.

But the Southwest Power Pool, north of Texas, and the Midwest power grid—both of which rely heavily on wind backed by gas—also experienced power outages last week due to declining surging demand, wind production and gas shortages. California relies on gas and imports to back up its solar power. But last summer California couldn’t get enough power from its neighbors amid a heat wave that strained the entire Western grid. Hydropower from the Northwest and coal from Utah couldn’t stop blackouts.

The wind lobby says Texas should have required thermal (nuclear, gas, coal) plants to be weatherized to withstand single-digit temperatures. Perhaps, but wind still performed the worst during the blackout, generating power at 12% of its capacity compared to 76% for nuclear, 39% for coal, and 38% for gas, according to a data analysis by the Center of the American Experiment.

In short, renewables create grid vulnerabilities, environmental policies exacerbate them, and we have only begun the process of re-engineering our grid systems to make them reliable again.

8 thoughts on “More Green Blackouts Ahead

  1. “. . . we have only begun the process of re-engineering our grid systems to make them reliable again.”

    Thanks Trump.

    Democrats have been pushing the need for investments and improvements in the grid for many years. The doctrinaire “Chinese hoax” crowd who ruled under Trump have set us back those four wasted years. Maybe you will support President Biden’s efforts to make this investments? That was a joke. Obviously, you won’t.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. RE: “Democrats have been pushing the need for investments and improvements in the grid for many years.”

    Brand name issues aside, so what? Democrats also have been pushing for green energy for years, which has turned out to be more problematic than expected.

    Like

    1. “. . . which has turned out to be more problematic than expected.”

      Uh, bullshit. The technical limitations of solar and wind energy are not a mystery. The sun doesn’t shine at night and sometimes the wind does not blow. Which is exactly why proponents of green energy have ALWAYS been pushing for improvements in the grid so that the long understood to be needed reserves of gas, coal and nuclear energy can be minimized and shared over wider areas.

      By the way, the problems in Texas were NOT caused by green energy. They were caused by penny-pinching on technologies that would have avoided the failures and doctrinaire thinking that kept Texas off the national grid.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. RE: “By the way, the problems in Texas were NOT caused by green energy.”

        If you say so. WSJ put it this way: “wind still performed the worst during the blackout, generating power at 12% of its capacity compared to 76% for nuclear, 39% for coal, and 38% for gas, according to a data analysis by the Center of the American Experiment.”

        You can blame the penny-pinchers too, if you want, but that’s pure speculation. Who were they? What were their actual decisions? What data did they have in hand? Be specific. For all you know, these unnamed bad guys may have already budgetted for upgrades to their own plants, but were waiting for the North American Electric Reliability Corporation to publish the final draft of the standards it has been working on.

        Like

        1. The wind turbines were not equipped for the cold weather. They should have ALL stopped working. So quoting the 12% figure only goes to show that the “analysis” is not objective. And to heighten the sophistry that is 12% of their maximum output – not a percent of what was planned where, unlike the fossil plants, they did more or less as expected.

          Blaming the penny pinchers is not speculation. The operators of power plants etc. did not invest in winterization. Lack of winterization took wind, gas, coal and nuclear plants offline when they were needed most.

          The creative blame shifting never stops with you people. Now it is the North American Electric Reliability Corporation who kept winterization from happening? Years after the previous winter storms knocked the power supply to the ground?

          Like

          1. RE: “The creative blame shifting never stops with you people.”

            No, it never stops with you. Here, you haven’t answered any of the questions required to substantiate your claim that unnamed “penny pincers” caused the blackout. You’ll do or say ANYTHING to make it seem that wind power played no role in the blackout.

            But it did, indisputably, as WSJ explains.

            Like

          2. Are you just plain stupid?
            We have been discussing this for days. The fact that winterization was skipped to save money has been discussed ad nauseum. It has been identified as the primal failure by WSJ, NYT and numerous Texas newspaper reports. Al of which have been shared here. It is no mystery what the penny pinchers pinched pennies on – winterization. There is NOTHING that I need to prove. I already have.

            Sure wind turbines played a role in the blackout – the same role as other power systems that were not adequately winterized.

            Your doctrinaire opposition to ANY progressive thinking has made you blind to simple truth. A machine not designed to work in the cold has not “failed” when it does not work in the cold. The people who deployed it – with only hope that it would not get cold – are the ones that failed. Their failure was across the board. Wind turbines, gas plants, coal plants and even a nuclear plant were deployed without the investments needed to ensure reliable operations in cold weather. None of the blather emanating from the fossil fuel crowd changes that well proven fact.

            Liked by 1 person

    2. How many infrastructure weeks were there in the previous 4 years? If properly done, they would have worked to strengthening the electrical grid throughout the country, which is desperately needed.

      What did those weeks do? Not a dammed thing. They were side shows that produced nothing workable.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to Adam Green Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s