Energy Alerts in Texas and Alberta
- Jun 17, 2021 3:30 pm GMT
This winter Texas experienced several days of brownouts/blackouts due in part to adverse weather causing forced outages of generating plants. The week of June 13th they were again seeing numerous forced outages of generating facilities.
Many people have blamed ERCOT’s difficulties on the large amount of renewable energy in Texas. I would like to point to ERCOT’s own press releases; draw your own conclusions where the problems lie.
Exerts from ERCOT press releases:
Feb. 19, 2021 - ".... As of 7:30 this morning, approximately 34,000 MW of generation remains on forced outage due to this winter weather event. Of that, nearly 20,000 MW is thermal generation and the rest is wind and solar."
June 14, 2021 - ".... Generator owners have reported approximately 11,000 MW of generation is on forced outage for repairs; of that, approximately 8,000 MW is thermal and the rest is intermittent resources. According to the summer Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy, a typical range of thermal generation outages on hot summer days is around 3,600 MW. One MW typically powers around 200 homes on a summer day...."
Complete releases can be found at: http://www.ercot.com/news/releases
In the past we have also seen issues here in Alberta, the Energy Emergency Alerts (EEA) have mostly occurred during the summer on hot clear days when gas turbines are turned down (gas turbines have a negative temperature coefficient with regards to output) and with the high pressure systems the wind generally isn't blowing. These are perfect conditions for solar and if we had more solar then some of the past EEA's would not have occurred. -20 deg C is perfect conditions for gas turbines, the chinook winds we get in Alberta are perfect conditions for wind generation.
That’s not say that renewable energy doesn’t also have limitations, you need the right topology, climate or other resources to apply this technology and they are intermittent and variable. Large scale storage is still not cost effective enough to replace more firm sources of energy but it is gaining traction.
I believe that the best generation technology is a mix of technologies.
Rather than decrying the challenges renewables bring let's start working together to solve the issues.
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