Saturday, December 24, 2022

The Appalling State of America's Electric Grid

As of 9am, here is a map of power failures across the Lower 48.
In many areas in the Northeast, the high winds are responsible for the outage. But, in the South, it is poor planning ("we didn't know it was going to be this cold") and, you guessed it, renewables. 

From this morning's Nashville Tennessean
"Demand ran 35% higher than a normal winter day." 

Remember how yesterday I wrote about how we forecasted this extreme cold wave an amazing 13 days in advance? I also wrote,
It is hard to believe that they claim they were expecting a "normal winter day." And, it isn't just Nashville.

Once we ignore the spin, I suspect there were two problems:
  1. Thanks to wind and solar, we no longer have excess capacity. As during the Texas 2021 power catastrophe, there isn't enough power anymore, especially when (as happened in Texas) wind drops to 2% of capacity.
  2. They didn't believe the weather forecasts in time to maximize the power they had.
From my December 13 forecast on this blog.

With the exception of Texas, which has highly limited "sharing" (called "interconnection") capacity, electric utilities can "dispatch" (send) electricity from one area to another. But, as they call wind and solar within the industry, they are "non-dispatchable." That is because they are so unreliable. 

For example, today, in Kansas (#2 state for wind power), most areas have winds too light to turn the turbine blades. 
9am Kansas weather map. The winds in most areas are less
than 5 mph; too light for wind energy.
So, with our own cold weather, we -- almost certainly -- do not have sufficient power to share for areas farther east. Had we built a second nuclear plant instead of all of these ridiculous (expensive and unreliable) windmills, we would have lower rates and more reliable power. 

Many of the power failures in the Southeast can be traced to the absurd policy of relying on expensive wind and solar for decarbonization rather than nuclear and hydro. 

Too bad the election was last month.

No comments:

Post a Comment