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Bad weather, power outages show that the biggest problem with the grid is infrastructure, not renewable energy – TechCrunch




It is becoming increasingly difficult for the United States to ignore the very realistic impacts of global climate change — and despite the efforts of denialists, it goes to renewable energy, which is due to the outage that is sweeping the country It’s not a push. It is the country’s energy infrastructure.

The harsh weather conditions caused by global warming are now causing major power outages in some of the largest cities in the United States. The inability of the U.S. power grid to withstand the stress caused by extreme weather requires a large investment plan to upgrade the energy infrastructure to make it more resilient. It shows that.

These issues are now painfully apparent to the 29 million residents of Texas. They are currently exposed to rolling blackouts caused by the frigid weather that hits the country.

“We have entered an emergency and have begun to shut down at 1:25 am today,” the Texas Electrical Reliability Council said in a statement. The Texas Grid has reduced the load by 10.5 gigawatts. That’s enough to power 2 million households during peak hours.

“Extreme weather has caused many power generation units to go offline and unavailable, regardless of fuel type,” the energy provider said in a statement.

Part of the problem lies with the natural gas generators that supply much of the electricity to the Texas grid. Professor Jesse Jenkins of Princeton University is co-appointed by the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Andlinger Energy and Environment Center.

Citing market participants, Jenkins said on Twitter that about 26 gigawatts of thermal energy is offline because natural gas is being diverted to provide heat instead of electricity. According to Jenkins, only about 4 gigawatts of wind are offline due to freezing.

Confidential information from ERCOT market participants: As of 10 am EST, the system has a maximum offline capacity of 30 GW and a maximum heat capacity of 26 GW, mostly natural gas, a fuel that is a priority for heating loads. Unable to get supply. Up to 4GW of wind due to icing.

-JesseJenkins (@JesseJenkins) February 15, 2021

Current power outages have nothing to do with renewable energy. It is also associated with cold climates slowing natural gas production due to freezing and spikes in heating demand.

As Dr. Emily Grubert, an assistant professor of civil engineering and public policy at Georgia Institute of Technology, pointed out, the problem is more of a system-wide problem than a problem related to renewable electricity.

“Let’s be clear, it shows that if the grid fails today, existing (mainly fossil-based) systems can’t handle these conditions either,” Grubert wrote on Twitter. “These are horrific, climate-affected conditions that pose extreme challenges to the grid. These situations can continue to be difficult for existing systems to handle. Which power system But we need to make major adaptation improvements. “

Renewable energy and energy storage can help provide solutions to problems and contribute to a more resilient grid. Residential energy developer Swell Energy raised $ 450 million at the end of last year and began developing several projects across three states. The project will combine distributed residential solar power with battery storage to create a so-called virtual power plant that can reduce stress on the energy grid. An era of increasing demand.

Suleman Khan, CEO of Swell Energy, said at the time of the announcement, utilities are increasingly focusing on decentralized energy resources as a valuable grid-edge asset. By networking these individual homes and businesses into virtual power plants, Swell reduces customer ownership costs and helps utilities manage demand across the grid. “

Other companies, such as Evolve Energy and Griddy, are trying to help consumers control their costs by charging wholesale electricity bills. These companies are only economical if wholesale electricity prices are low. According to Bloomberg Energy reporter Javier Bias, ERCOT’s energy prices are now above $ 5,000 per MW and have reached the $ 9,000 cap on many nodes due to the surge in electricity demand.

Power outages in Texas today and California in January indicate the need to overhaul the current grid in the United States. Whether it’s a tightly regulated market like California or a free market like Texas, current policies can’t stop the weather from causing havoc and endangering people’s lives.

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