When will BigWind destroy OUR grid, in the USA?

The realities listed, below, are inevitable. How will it affect YOU? Your place of business? Your hospital? The green lobbyists are hiding these truths from our legislators and, instead, focusing on the benefits for climate change (zero proof of this benefit). In a previous blog, we have referred to the BigWind lobby group as ‘illusionists’ and that could not be more true here. As we add more INstability into our grid in the USA, we will eventually see the problems discussed below…

Most supporters of renewable energy development are probably pretty comfortable with the way things are going.  Wind and Solar generation has been increasing both in “nameplate capacity” and in actual production of electricity.  There have not been any significant grid failures that can be blamed on renewables.  Apart from a consolidation within the solar cell manufacturing sector there have not been any notable bankruptcies within the electricity generating sector.  All visible signs are positive for a continued expansion of renewable resources….

But a new day is dawning in the U.S. and it could be a darn cold (or hot) one.

The EPA announced regulations in December 2011 that will require coal-fired thermal generation plants to clean up or shut down.  The reality is that for many of these plants it will not be feasible to clean them up.  In fact, in some cases the EPA will not even allow them to be updated with modern pollution controls.  As a result more than 40 GW of firm generation capacity will be decommissioned over the next several years.

Plans to replace this loss are in some cases vague and have been changing often.  Increased conservation and better utilization of existing plants are frequently included in Integrated Resource Plans.  In other cases greater reliance upon renewables is explicitly identified.  These are not really replacements for firm capacity.

A number of new Natural Gas fired plants are also under construction.  While current low gas prices make this an attractive option the threat of future significant price hikes as well as the EPA’s stated goal to regulate CO2 emissions are worrisome and are impacting the ability to secure financing of these plants in some cases.

As more and more coal-fired plants are retired it is likely that total system firm generation capacity will drop resulting in smaller reserves.  This, in turn, will make the system more susceptible to storms or other unplanned outages.

The degree to which grid security is compromised will vary from region to region depending upon the penetration of renewables, number of coal-fired plant retirements and the health of the local economy which has a major impact on electricity demand.  Based upon those factors I believe Texas and the Mid-west are the areas most at risk.

It may be that the reduction in coal-fired generation will do nothing more than cull excess capacity out of the system with no negative impacts.  But groups such as the Institution of Engineering and Technology in the UK have issued warnings about the progressive stress on a system that has taken decades to evolve and is now faced with unprecedented challenges.

Like the concrete block in the Youtube video the system is not displaying any outward signs of weakness.  The question is this – will the North American electricity system encounter its own version of second 2:41?

Why Renewables Havent Destroyed the Grid – Yet! – Pennenergy.