May 25, 2022

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Grid operators warn of electricity shortages amid shift to renewables: report

Grid operators warn of electricity shortages amid shift to renewables: report

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Electric grid operators across the country are warning of the potential for blackouts as companies try to move into them green energy sources.

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

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

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Extreme temperatures and wildfires during summer may lead to a shortage of energy In California, the state network operator told the WSJ. The Midwest could face similar issues with MISO warning of a lack of capacity that could lead to blackouts.

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

Wind turbines in Palm Springs, California.

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 have to store some of their energy in batteries for later use. But the development of better battery storage is underway, and operators fear it is not happening fast enough to replace idle plants.

The risk of blackouts increases this summer, as supply chain problems and inflation slow as developers can get the 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 around the world is trying to deal with the same problem,” Brad Jones, interim CEO of the Texas Electricity Reliability Council, told WSJ. “We are all trying to find ways to use as much of our renewable resources as we can… at the same time making sure we have enough dispensable generation to manage reliability.”

But others have argued slowing down the pace of banning traditional plants.

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