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Reality bites

518 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Fitasc Shooter
The road to a world powered by renewable energy is littered with unintended consequences. Like a 40,000% surge in electricity prices.

Texas power prices jumped from less than $15 to as much as $9,000 a megawatt-hour this month as coal plant retirements and weak winds left the region on the brink of blackouts during a heat wave. It’s a phenomenon playing out worldwide.
The recent stumbles serve as a warning shot to the rest of the world as governments work to displace aging nuclear reactors and coal-fired power plants with cheaper and cleaner renewable energy.
Grid operators, policy makers and power providers are learning the hard way that losing massive, around-the-clock generators can be a challenge, if not carefully planned.
“We have to have systems in place to make sure we still have enough generation on the grid -- or else, in the best case, we have a blackout, and in the worst case, we have some kind of grid collapse,”
said Severin Borenstein, an energy economist at the University of California at Berkeley,
where state officials have a goal of getting all power from clean energy resources by 2045.

Some grids have taken on large volumes of solar and wind without widespread blackouts.
California, for example, often gets more than 40% of its power from renewable energy resources in the early afternoon and regularly sees its power prices drop below zero.
Texas, which has more wind power than anywhere in America, is home to some of the cheapest wholesale electricity in the country.
Renewable energy is now the most affordable source of new power generation in two-thirds of the world.

Clean energy advocates point to batteries as a solution to renewables’ intermittent nature.
Companies including Tesla Inc. and Germany’s Sonnen GmbH have developed massive energy-storage systems that can stockpile electricity when demand is low and dispatch it when it’s needed.
Utilities have also pressed for stronger transmission networks.

The Trump administration has argued the only way to keep a grid resilient is to keep money-losing coal and nuclear plants online with bailouts.
Those efforts have gained little traction, but states are carving out subsidies to save reactors from early retirement, sparking a review by federal regulators that has already delayed the largest annual power auction in the U.S. by months.
Meanwhile, in Texas, the grid is becoming increasingly exposed to the swings of wind generation.
The run-up in electricity prices earlier this month was in part because generation from farms sank to the lowest level in months.
Unlike Texas, some regions use capacity markets to ensure there’s enough power to keep the lights on. In these, plants get paid to guarantee power during a certain time period, even if it turns out the market doesn’t need their electricity.

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Stoopid people relearning history. Stoopid because the "lessons learned" are a matter of written record, but human laziness puts those historical records out of reach, evidently.

It's kinda like Seattle and L.A. could revisit the history and reasoning for "vagrancy and loitering" laws and restrictions. The measures that kept the "hobo's" moving rather than "squatting" like so many of today's homeless.

Rather than the "ounce of prevention", let's make "the pound of cure" the norm.
So mining resources to make batteries - and their production and refinement of that material, is "greener"?
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