Saturday, March 26, 2016

California Grid and 40 Pct Renewable Energy - All Is Well

Subtitle:  Grid Not Collapsed - No Blackouts

Today 3/26/2016, the California grid is having a banner day with Solar energy, and the percentage of renewables on the grid is far above 30 percent.    Data in MW is shown below.  Data is from    see link 

Hour .....  Renewables .......Total Grid .....  Renewable Percent.........Solar .......... Wind

Noon         9814  MW              22,593                    43.4                            7188            735
1230          9930                      22,525                    44.0                            7315           719
1300          9846                      22,496                    43.8                            7309           640
1330          9758                      22,436                    43.5                            7310           534   
1400          9746                      22,453                    43.4                            7308           529
1430          9674                      22,557                    42.9                            7309           452
1500          9640                      22,747                    42.4                            7292           439
1530          9494                      22,858                    41.5                            7210           379
1600          9200                      23,143                    39.7                            6949           350

The reason for this post is to refute some nonsense published earlier this week, in which a former Commissioner on the California Energy Commission (who should know better) declared that California would never exceed 18 percent of grid power from renewable energy.  see link.    In 2014, per California Energy Commission, renewable energy amounted to 25 percent of all electricity sold in the state, and that does not include another 10 percent (approximately) from large hydroelectric generators.  

One could perhaps argue the semantics, of what is a renewable, or what time frame constitutes the evaluation period.  California has excluded large hydroelectric from the renewable definition, but small hydro counts.  The forms of renewable that count these days are solar (both PV and thermal), wind, geothermal, small hydro, biomass, and biogas.   Only the solar and wind are variable, as the others are remarkably constant.  

This post is also to refute what some so-called "experts" write over and over, that electric grids are too fragile to handle solar and wind energy when those exceed 30 percent of grid demand.   Clearly, that is simply false.   Solar, alone, is contributing more than 30 percent today in California, as at noon it was 31.8 percent, and at 1230 hours it was 32.5 percent.   Wind was small, at just over 3 percent, so the total at those two moments was a bit more than 35 percent.    It should be noted, and clearly, that the grid is operating quite well.  No reports of problems.  The CAISO, the grid operator, has issued no Flex Alerts, or warnings of any kind.  

Note that, in California, the highest renewable percentages tend to occur on weekends when demand is low, on sunny days when solar output is highest, and windy days when wind turbines are at highest output.   The end of March, the month of April, and part of May are the periods with the most wind.  However, the most solar energy occurs later in the year, in late June.  

Post will be updated as the day progresses.   Wind is expected to pick up as there is a wind storm predicted today along the California - Arizona border. 

Earlier posts on this topic include:

Wind-energy-increasing-in-us  see link
Gone-with-wind-nuclear-bye-bye  see link

UPDATE 1 - 4/17/2016:   Wind was stronger on Friday, 4/15/2016, along with fairly strong sunshine, providing a bit more than 11,000 MW during the noon hours.  This was a bit more than 44 percent of total electricity on the grid for several hours.  But, such a condition would have provided a bit more than 50 percent of the grid had this happened on a weekend with its reduced electrical demand.   As before, there were absolutely zero grid-based problems reported, no Flex-Alerts, no requests to curtail electricity use.  --- end update 1. 
Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California

copyrignt © 2016 by Roger Sowell, all rights reserved. 

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