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Network operators warn of power shortages when switching to renewable energy: Report




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Electric network operators from all over the country warn of the potential for power outages when companies try to switch to green energy sources.

“I’m worried about that,” MISO chief John Bear told the Wall Street Journal in a report Sunday. “As we move forward, we need to know that when you install a solar panel or a wind turbine, it is not the same as a thermal resource.”

Network operators warn of power shortages when switching to renewable energy: Report

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

WHEN GAS PRICES STOKE, POSSIBLY OUTSIDE RANGE

Extreme heat and forest fires over the summer can lead to a lack of energy in California, the state’s network operator told WSJ. The Midwest may face similar problems with MISO warnings about capacity shortages that could lead to power outages.

The problem is growing across the country as many traditional and nuclear power plants are retired to make room for renewable energy sources, but the plants are disconnected faster than renewable energy and battery storage can keep up.

Wind turbines in Palm Springs, California.

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

Wind and solar parks are among the most popular forms of renewable power production, but their inability to generate electricity 24/7 means that they have to store some of their energy in batteries for later use. But the development of better battery storage is underway, the operators fear that it will not happen fast enough to replace the retiring factories.

The risk of power outages has increased this summer, with supply chain problems and inflation slowing the pace, and developers can get the components needed to build renewable energy farms.

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

Space Coast Next Generation Solar Center, on Merritt Island, Fla.
(AP)

“All markets around the world are trying to deal with the same problem,” Brad Jones, interim CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, told WSJ. “We’re all trying to find ways to leverage as much of our renewable resources as possible … while making sure we have enough generation that can be sent to manage reliability.”

But others have argued for slowing down the pace of taking traditional plants offline.

“We need to make sure we have sufficient new resources in place and operational before we let any of these retirements go,” Mark Rothleder, CEO of the California Independent System Operator, told WSJ. “Otherwise we put ourselves in danger of having insufficient capacity.”



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