Apparently greening with renewable energy also means going in the red and finally sitting in the dark.
Earlier this week, power companies in Michigan warned customers that power outages could occur during the hot summer months.
One executive blames the impending warm weather while also admitting that a sudden and abrupt change to renewable energy will cause problems.
“Our leaders need to be truly aware of the day-to-day impact,” said Joe Trotter, director of energy, environment and agriculture at the U.S. Legislative Exchange Council. Fox Newsrelating to the consequences of switching to renewable energy.
“It’s great to look to the future, but the present has a huge impact on their constituencies,” he added.
Trotter told Fox that too many traditional power plants have shut down while power grid operators are trying to switch to renewable energy sources.
These renewable sources including solar and wind energy are limited in scope because they cannot produce electricity 24 hours a day, especially if weather conditions do not comply. Batteries for storing this type of power are still being developed, and at this point, it is not worth the high price compared to proven clean energy sources such as natural gas.
Sun Farm located in Indiana. (Photo credit: American Public Power Association/ Sprinkle)
But coal plants and natural gas facilities are closed faster than the framework for renewable energy sources can be built.
“It’s this focus on a much longer-term solution to replace it with renewable energy,” Trotter said. Fox. He argues that these solutions are “years or decades away from being able to replace the coal.”
The Golden State Is Preparing to Darken As Well
California is likely to have an energy shortage equivalent to what it needs to power about 1.3 million homes when use is at its peak during the hot and dry summer months, state officials also warned earlier this month.
The biggest challenge for the electrical system is during hot evenings in late summer and early fall, when solar production drops after sunset while demand for air conditioning remains high. That’s according to Mark Rothleder, chief executive officer of the California Independent System Operator, which oversees the state’s top grid. Bloomberg.
California is also experiencing a mega-drought that this year saw the driest January to March recorded. Last summer, the state shut down water at the Oroville Dam for the first time because it lacked enough water. It works again, but the shutdown has cost the state 600 megawatts of power, officials said.
The Golden State is in the process of transitioning its network away from energy sources that emit greenhouse gases to carbon-free sources such as solar, hydro, and wind power. As old power plants prepare for retirement, including the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, the state has fewer power options available. By 2025, the state will lose 6,000 megawatts of power due to planned power outages.
However, Governor Gavin Newsom said he would support extending the life of Diablo Canyon, the state’s only remaining nuclear power plant, to ensure there are enough energy sources to maintain reliability during the transition to a carbon-free grid. Bloomberg.
California has set a goal of getting 100% of its electricity from non-carbon sources by 2045, with certain benchmarks on track including 60% by 2030. Already the state sometimes exceeds that target, especially during the day. But how much power comes from renewable sources varies with the time of day and year as well as what is available.
Recently, the system operator said it had reached a record of receiving more than 99% of its energy from non-carbon sources around 3 p.m., even though it only took a few minutes.
Wind turbine located in Turlock, California. (Photo credit: American Public Power Association/ Sprinkle)
Solar energy is by far the largest source of renewable energy, although it peaks during the day and falls significantly at night as the sun sets. The state is expanding battery storage so that solar energy can continue to be used when it is dark, but the state’s capacity is still significantly lacking.
Relying on a Source of Power That Can Be Renewable, But Not Reliable
Scientists who argue that the earth is warming or experiencing climate change see potential threats due to the increased heat. Could renewable energy power everyone’s air conditioner at the same time? What happens if the sun does not shine on solar panels for several days? What if the changing winds that drive wind turbines would stop for a while?
Nationally, 8.4% of utility-scale electricity generation in 2020 came from wind turbines, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. And there is even less power generated by solar. Solar energy accounted for 3% of US electricity generation from all sources by 2020.
Brian Stone, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said CBS News his research shows blackouts have increased in recent years.
“There has been a doubling in the number of blackouts a year in the last five years, and most of the blackouts happen in the summer, in hot weather,” he said.
“Most summers these days are the hottest summer ever. What covers that is just a creepy risk of old-fashioned infrastructure … and those trends are converging at the wrong time,” Stone said.
Stone says the real danger is warming worlds.
“In a city like Phoenix, air conditioning is a life support for people, and if you have a disruption, that’s a huge vulnerability,” he said. “I characterize it as the biggest health threat that climate change poses to this county – a blackout in a global warming.”
Then There is the Power Grid of The Nation
Even with more and more blackouts, the Biden administration wants electric cars to account for half of all car sales by 2030, according to The Washington Post.
But the reality is this – it’s all back to the US power grid. It barely works now during times of hot weather across the nation. Add electric cars to that equation and even the left Post confesses that you have the recipe for what could be a disaster.
The transition to electricity will also be costly. By 2030, according to one study, cited by the newspaper, the nation will have to invest as much as $ 125 billion in the grid to allow it to handle electric vehicles. The current infrastructure bill before Congress puts about $ 5 billion to transmission line construction and upgrades.
But then there is the annoying problem of actually charging cars. The Post article noted that a start-up company had contacted parking garage operators about installing 50 high-speed chargers, which fully charge a vehicle in about 20 minutes. But these chargers use a huge amount of electricity. Charging 50 cars would immediately consume as much electricity as a tall office building as long as the cars were stuck.
What happens to the aging power grid when there are millions of them?