Solar power wrecking CA power grid — blackouts likely

Solar power is causing damage to California’s electrical grid and could lead to blackouts this summer, but the state’s plan to solve the problem is vehemently opposed by The Sierra Club.

The state was forced to shut down its solar farms on March 27 because Daily Caller  New Foundationthey were producing more electricity than Californians needed. Grid operators say this damaged the power grid, and the system will be incredibly vulnerable to damage and blackouts this summer because of excess solar power.

The operator’s proposed solution is to merge its power grid with PacifiCorp, Oregon’s electrical utility, which has access to many more reliable coal power plans that could offset the unreliability of California’s solar systems.

Environmental groups such as The Sierra Club are furious about the solution and sent a letter to California Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown in February demanding California suffer blackouts rather than merge grids with a company that uses coal power.

“It’s constantly solving a constant problem, meaning you’re always trying to balance,” Nancy Traweek, who directs system operations for California’s electrical grid, told KQED Science Monday. “All of a sudden you have a major cloud that comes over a solar field. That [power] needs to come from somewhere else immediately. When it gets really bad, now we really got to start cutting as much as we possibly can. If that’s not done, then you could have a blackout.”

Since the output of solar and wind plants cannot be predicted with high accuracy by forecasts, grid operators have to keep excess reserves running just in case. This also places extra stress on the grid, which could even lead to brownouts or blackouts, similar to those that struck the state in 2000 and 2001.

The country has already dialed down coal power plants and solar farms to their minimum load requirements in an attempt to advert disaster, but there has already been damage to the grid and, subsequently, power interruption

In order for the any power grid to function, demand for energy must exactly match supply. Solar power runs the risk of providing either too much energy or not enough, as it cannot easily adjust output. Adding green power, which only provides power at intermittent and unpredictable times, makes the power grid more fragile, especially in developing countries. Power demand is relatively predictable, and conventional power plans, like nuclear plants and natural gas, can adjust output accordingly as they put out a steady and predictable supply of electricity.

Additionally, California’s highest demand for electricity also happens right as the sun goes down, when people come home from work and turn lights on, which means grid operators must switch out the solar power for conventional coal, natural gas or nuclear power plants. Solar power in California simply does not generate electricity at times when it is most needed.

“If you continue going down this route, you’re going to have significant challenges in managing disturbances,” John Moura, director of reliability assessment at the North American Electric Reliability Corp, told EnergyWire late last month.

The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is currently investigating how green energy undermines the reliability of the electrical grid. FERC believe there is a “significant risk” of electricity in the United States becoming unreliable because “wind and solar don’t offer the services the shuttered coal plants provided.” Environmental regulations could make operating coal or natural gas power plant unprofitable, which could compromise the reliability of the American power grid.

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This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller

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About the Author: Andrew Follett

Andrew Follett covers energy and the environment for the Daily Caller.

  • Dano2

    Weird. I can only find this….erm…”story” on a couple wingnut news sites, where they say solar was so efficient it created too much power for CA’s dumb grid.

    No word on when they will develop a smart grid to handle all the excess power.

    Best,

    D

    • Brin Jenkins

      Power is produced when it is least required in the UK. Feb is our coldest month and highest demand with only 12% of the energy we see in July. Now I feel sure its not a great deal different in the US, there is also nil generation in the hours of daylight but you think this will be reduced with the super grid. Please with your superior intellect tell us how ohms law is suspended for this to occur?

      • Dano2

        That word salad could feed several villages in Africa.

        California’s dumb grid couldn’t handle all the solar power created that day. Get over it.

        Best,

        D

        • Brin Jenkins

          ye of little common sense or understanding. Another believer in perpetual motion as as well it seems.

          • Dano2

            That was maybe a half-dozen families.

            Best,

            D

  • Dano2

    Little Andrew likely was told to write something to deflect away from this.

    Southern California braces for summer blackouts due to Porter Ranch gas leak
    By Alice Walton , Paige St. John and Corina Knoll

    State officials warn that Southern California could face as many as 14 days of scheduled blackouts this summer because of depleted reserves of natural gas caused by the massive leak in Aliso Canyon.

    The canyon in the hills above Porter Ranch is a crucial gas storage facility, supplying 17 power plants in the Los Angeles Basin. But the four-month leak that began in October left the facility at one-fifth of its capacity and new injections of gas have been prohibited until all of its wells have passed comprehensive tests.

    Officials estimate the storage facility won’t be back on line for months, leaving local power plants without a key source of natural gas

    A solar power spill is just called ‘a nice day’.

    Best,

    D

  • Brianroysinputvideo .

    In perpetual energy experiments, the continuous energy remained perpetual, and were ruled as a void concept because they did not have a ground. I watched one guy show off his experiment and have it ruled as a threat to the national economy (the utilities) and on the basis of it being unscientific, and a host of other excuses which a certain gas and oil giant corporation had quashed because it was a perpetual energy machine without a ground. A ground dumps energy. This event was in the mid-1970s, so you would think that a group of engineers could easily install ground switches that dump energy into grounds whenever an excess of electricity runs beyond a capacity, and switches back when the siphoned off energy levels. All of this could already have been built if we did not have such a corrupt government with an illegal foreign occupant contravening the Constitution and doubling the national debt while intentionally destroying this nation, transitioning us into a American Soviet Communist Socialist system with a State Religion of Islam, turning us into a third world backwater because the guy (by the preponderance of the evidence) isn’t even a citizen of the United States (he is most likely a CIA / Ford Foundation communist plant with a biological Indonesian mother and and a Kenyan Communist father who could care less about any of us, but does love to to have all the trappings and worship of an American celebrity).

    So let me put it this way: if a home has too much energy from its roof solar panel system, what is the dumbed down scientific principle at work for the population to get a grip about this topic? Are solar homes burning down or having black-outs and losing sales because their is no regulator, no energy dump, and a frying of the household wiring systems so often in California that residents are beating down the doors of legislators demanding we ban solar energy and they want their money back plus the cost of all their homes that had to be entirely rewired or that were burned down? Sorry…I am entirely unaware of even ONE such news story, let alone THOUSANDS and more, as this latest attempt to hike energy prices even more, and to rob the population of cheaper energy than what a shutdown of these plants (by design and intentional outcome on the part of those forcing their shutdowns) will make us soon be paying at the new electricity tier rates through our utility providers that probably will double and triple come June – July – August sometime.

  • VACornell

    Solar power isn’t generated when needed…So what to do, long-term?
    Solar powered should stand on its own…how?
    Answer…save it, or a good part of it, when produced…in the afternoon.
    Then use it, just after dark in the evening…when needed.
    SOLAR should spend this money…only then is it competitive!
    The technology is available.
    Vern Cornell

  • VACornell

    Californians should respond to this…
    Include Senator Dianne Feinstein.