California's blackouts are just preview to what's coming for those who depend on utilities for their supply
- Aug 18, 2020 3:31 pm GMT
California is a poster child now a days. Emotions are running high and blame game has started.
Yesterday utilities blamed regulators in California for not allowing them to secure additional supply. Some argued this is a staged show to save 3 gas power plants slated to be closed and yet some blamed government policies with call for recalling California Governor Gavin Newsom.
But what is the root cause and can this mess be fixed?
Here are my take
1. Most of the green enthusiast have no formal background in electrical engineering and physical characteristics of the grid. You can not re-purpose a ship to make a sleek car!
2. Chronic shortage of man power, let aside talented, utilities are far short of man power who can actually work in the field and maintain network. When most of the people spending time on Facebook and tik-tok you can not find people who want to work in the field.
3. Unbiased assessment of the real value delivered by Solar and wind to the grid and what part of the grid don't have alternatives yet. Right now approach is pump as much solar and wind and we will have clean energy. Pipes that carry them are not designed for that so you are seeing busts.
4. Decouple utility planning from O&M - Utilities should not be the only one who decide what is the need for the system reliability. No utility led planning. Lets accept utilities alone don't know what will happen with complex distributed technologies
5. Decentralize grid - Abolish or limit role of CAL ISO. As distributed energy was taking hold in California, California ISO, so called not for profit went on the consolidate regional operator. We need just opposite of that.
6. Social and behaviors need to change. Americans are inflexible when it comes to wearing mask or controlling their energy use. Switch off lights is a relatively new concept in America. Consumers need to be honestly told that if they want clean energy from sun and wind, they have to be ready to be flexible and yes they may loose power and need to prepare as such. False hopes provided by clean energy Guru's and politicians is causing more pain than solution.
People have lots of hope with #California to lead energy transition. If California fails we will have same outcome as we had for power markets. For 2 decades after Enron there is no credible power market in the World.
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