Power grid operators have started sounding the alarm about the looming electricity shortages in the United States, even as the ruling class continues its push for a shift to renewable energy.
There’s now a bigger possibility of experiencing blackouts as many power companies start to switch to so-called green energy sources instead of electricity.
“I am concerned about it. As we move forward, we need to know that when you put a solar panel or a wind turbine up, it’s not the same as a thermal resource,” Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) Chief Executive John Bear recently told the Wall Street Journal.
However it is not just the shift to renewable energy that raises a problem. Extreme heat and wildfires over the summer could result in a shortage of energy in California.
The Midwest could face the same problems with MISO warning of capacity shortages that could cause power outages.
The chance of outages is increased this summer with the continuing supply chain issues and inflation delaying the rate developers can get the components needed to build renewable energy farms.
Electric-grid operators from across the nation are warning of the possibility of blackouts as companies try to transition to green energy sources. The issue is on the rise nationwide as many traditional and nuclear power plants are being retired to open the way for renewable sources of energy. (Related: Virtual power plants may be the answer to power shortages during extreme weather events)
Wind and solar farms are among the most common forms of renewable power generation, but their inability to produce power 24/7 means they have to reserve some of their energy in batteries for later use. Although the creation of better battery storage is underway, operators fear it isn’t happening quick enough to replace the retiring plants.
“Every market around the world is trying to deal with the same issue. We’re all trying to find ways to utilize as much of our renewable resources as possible, and at the same time make sure that we have enough dispatchable generation to manage reliability,” said Brad Jones, the interim chief executive of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.
Others have suggested delaying the pace of taking traditional plants offline.
“We need to make sure that we have sufficient new resources in place and operational before we let some of these retirements go. Otherwise, we are putting ourselves potentially at risk of having insufficient capacity,” said Mark Rothleder, the chief operating officer of the California Independent System Operator (CISO).
Meanwhile, California will probably have an energy deficit similar to what it takes to power about 1.3 million homes when use is at its peak during the hot and dry summer months, state officials said.
The officials cited extreme heat and wildfires along with supply chain and regulatory issues hindering the solar industry as the challenges for energy reliability this summer and in the coming years. The officials represented the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the California Energy Commission and CISO.
Rothleder said the greatest risk comes when extreme heat collides with other kinds of emergencies.
“If you overlay that with potential risk of fires that happen at the same time, then you get into those more extraordinary extreme events. There is real potential for outages and we have to be prepared for that,” Rothleder said.
Two years ago Californians were struck with rolling blackouts in the face of extreme heat events. Residents could expect something similar, if not worse.
“If we get into an extreme event … we’re worried, we’re very humble about what might happen. We may have to call on Californians to take steps to just manage their loads during those hot periods,” said Alice Reynolds, president of California PUC.
The expected shortage could be up to 17 hundred megawatts, which is equal to a major power plant. Leaders in the state said they are acquiring more energy, raising battery storage and setting up new generators.
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