We have warned you about this for years. Our grid was not designed to handle intermittent energy. Australia has the most recent example of this failure and the damage it can cause to the consumers, but Europe has seen glimpses of this problem, also. It will only increase and California is the first, within our borders, to see this potential catastrophic occurrence. Can you imagine an America with lights flickering on/off? With hospitals using generators frequently? With industry forced to pause their production?Let us pray that Ohio legislators pay attention…
California claims to be able to permanently replace fossil-fuel generated electricity with “intermittent” wind and solar generation, but the state’s electrical grid is on the verge of crisis as it may soon run out of the ability to import enough fossil-fuel electricity.
According to Gail Tverberg, who prophetically warned on January 6, 2008, in The Failure of Networked Systems that banks and insurance companies were about to cause a worldwide financial crisis, just warned that “Leaders around the world have demanded that their countries switch to renewable energy, without ever taking a very close look at what the costs and benefits were likely to be.”
With Gov. Brown signing Senate Bill 32 (SB 32), California committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2017 to 40 percent below by 2030.
California’s 2015 Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) is now 2/3 wind and solar, and about 1/3 biomass geothermal and small hydro. The bulk of future RPS greenhouse reductions are expected to come almost exclusively from wind and solar.
Tverberg says this commitment to solar and wind has been justified by simple calculations of “Life Cycle Assessment” and “Energy Returned on Energy Invested.” But she argues, “These calculations miss the fact that the intermittent energy being returned is of very much lower quality than is needed to operate the electric grid.”…
With California at 12.3 percent intermittent wind and solar electrical penetration in 2015, Tverberg points out that the state is suffering the same type of electric grid degradation that Hawaii is currently suffering with 12.2 percent solar and wind penetration.
Hawaii is an island chain that cannot import energy to their electrical grid. With $331 million invested in Hawaii during 2015, its installed solar capacity hit 615 megawatts, supposedly “enough solar energy installed in the state to power 159,000 homes.
But due to the intermittent challenge of needing an equal amount of standby electrical generation for periods of overcast or darkness, Hawaii has been forced to stop residential solar net metering (giving homeowners credit for the retail cost of electricity, when electricity is sold to the grid) and is phasing out these solar subsidies.
Tverberg highlights that the intermittent “situation is not too different in California.” Due to solar and wind subsidies that have driven electrical costs to 45 percent higher than the national average, over 1/3 of California’s electric grid power for non-intermittent (also called “dispatchable”) electrical back-up must now be imported from other states, up from only 25 percent in 2010….