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Wind and solar realities

image credit: By Donn Dears
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president Donn Dears LLC

Donn Dears began his career at General Electric testing large steam turbines and generators used by utilities to generate electricity; followed next, by manufacturing and marketing assignments at...

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  • Mar 16, 2021
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The Texas blackouts made everyone aware of the risks associated with wind and solar, as well as bad management by ERCOT.

This video will describe two of the important shortcomings of wind and solar.

These are the facts that exist today.

This video explains two of the issues concerning the management of our electric grid.

There are other important issues affecting how the electric grid is being managed.

The first book describing these issues is The Looming Energy Crisis, Are Blackouts Inevitable, highlighted by the video.

The second book is Shorting the Grid, by Meredith Angwin.

Both books explain how RTO/ISOs are manipulating the bidding process for determining which sources of electricity are used each day on the grid. And how the bidding process is forcing nuclear power, coal and natural gas power plants from the grid. And how wind and solar are being used inappropriately in reserve margins.

The Texas disaster has been a warning we should take seriously.

 

 

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Mar 16, 2021

Both books explain how RTO/ISOs are manipulating the bidding process for determining which sources of electricity are used each day on the grid. And how the bidding process is forcing nuclear power, coal and natural gas power plants from the grid. And how wind and solar are being used inappropriately in reserve margins.

Is the U.S. the only market where this RTO/ISO structure exists? Is that why these shortcomings seem to be happening here and not on a global scale? 

Jim Stack's picture
Jim Stack on Mar 17, 2021

Donn. I think you are making Wind and Solar look like the problem when all reports say it was the lack of fuel for the NG power plants. Let's make sure the real FACTS are shown and not some fake ideas with no FACTS. 

https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2021/02/why-the-power-is-out-in-texas...

 

1-Frozen wind turbines played only small role in Texas outages

2- The main cause of the massive disruption, by far, were the frozen components leading to the outage of thermal plants that heat water and convert the steam to electricity. The vast bulk of those thermal plants are powered by natural gas. In addition, the South Texas Nuclear Plant was thrown out of service Monday as a result of frozen pipes, which cut even further into the Houston area’s electricity supply.

Also feeding the crisis were several factors unique to Texas. Most of the Lone Star State is on a power grid that’s separate from the western and eastern U.S. grids, a decades-old bid to avoid interstate regulation but one that reduces the Texas grid’s flexibility. The state’s deregulated, just-in-time energy marketplace is also a factor, as it leans on production versus storage – a risk when natural gas lines freeze up – and it allows for massive price spikes during weather outages.

 

donn dears's picture
donn dears on Mar 19, 2021

There is no question that bad management and insufficient attention being paid to winter conditions were a major factor in the severity of the blackouts.

The bottom line however, is that there were insufficient reserves and that wind and solar can't replace fossil fuels.

As for linking to another grid: That's a straw man. The grid North of Texas, i.e., the Eastern grid managed by MISO, also was running out of capacity, and coal kept the lights on. Whether the Western grid could have helped is up for debate.

Fundamentally, the RTO/ISOs are driving policy which is causing nuclear power to be driven from the grid and forcing wind and solar onto the grid. If you read my book you will have a better understanding of what is happening. Or, if you don't like my book, read Shorting the Grid by Angwin. She also understands what is happening .

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