Grid operators warn of power shortages amid switch to renewables: report

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Power grid operators across the country are warning of the potential for outages as companies try to move in as sources of green power.

“I am concerned about this,” MISO CEO John Beer told The Wall Street Journal in a report on Sunday. “As we move forward, we need to know that when you install a solar panel or a wind turbine, it’s different from a heat source.”

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, file)

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Extreme temperatures and wildfires during the summer can lead to power shortages in California, the state grid operator told the WSJ. The Midwest could face similar issues with MISO warning of a lack of capacity that could lead to outages.

This problem is growing across the country as many conventional and nuclear power plants are being shut down to make way for renewables, but plants are running faster than renewables and battery storage.

Wind turbines in Palm Springs, California.
(2013 Getty Images)

Wind and solar farms are among the most popular forms of renewable energy generation, but their lack of 24/7 power generation means they must store some of their energy in batteries for a later use. But the development of better battery storage is underway, and operators fear it won’t happen fast enough to replace idle factories.

The risk of power outages increases this summer as supply chain issues and inflation slow as developers can obtain components needed to build renewable energy farms.

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        Space Coast Next Generation Solar Center, on Merritt Island, Florida.

Space Coast Next Generation Solar Center, on Merritt Island, Florida.
(AFP)

“Every market in the world is trying to deal with the same problem,” Brad Jones, acting CEO of the Texas Electricity Reliability Council, told the WSJ. “We’re all trying to find ways to use as much of our renewable resources as possible…while making sure we have enough dispensable generation to handle reliability.”

But others have argued that the pace of banning traditional plants needs to be slowed.

“We need to make sure that we have enough new resources in place and operational before we let go of some of these retirements,” said Mark Rothelider, chief operating officer of the California independent system operator, at the WSJ. “Otherwise we run the risk of not having enough capacity.”

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