Eclipseocalypse – Electrics Brace for Solar Darkness

When the sun goes dark, California will lose the equivalent of five nuclear power plants of power.

Martin Rosenberg | Jun 29, 2017 The Energy Times

 

California is bracing for a significant loss of electric power as its fast-growing fleet of solar electric panels plunge into darkness during a major solar eclipse on August 21.

While the eclipse will be partial in the state, energy planners are getting ready to tap 6,000 megawatts of electricity from other sources between 9 a.m. and noon PDT during the eclipse, according to the California ISO which oversees the electricity markets in America’s most populous state.

The new vulnerability of the massive electric grid to a celestial marvel like an eclipse reflects a massive transformation of how energy is being created and used in America – something most consumers do not ordinarily think about.

In less than two decades, America’s solar power generation has soared heavenward, from a mere 5 megawatts in 2000 to 42,619 megawatts last year.

The 6,000 megawatts California has to cover during the sun’s blackout is a massive amount of energy, the equivalent of the output of a handful of large nuclear

power plants.

Fortunately, California this summer is blessed with 5,000 – 6,000 megawatts of hydroelectric resources as a result of ample snow and rains this past winter and spring, according to Deane Lyon, California ISO shift manager, real-time operations.

“We are planning to use a variety of approaches to this,” Lyon told the Energy Times.

California ISOcaliso

At the height of the August eclipse, large utility scale solar farms will lose as much as 76 percent of power in the north while in the south the loss will get to 58 percent.

Above all, the electric market through its price signals will bring enough electric power to the market to serve all, he said. He does not anticipate any repetition of the massive price spikes that occurred in 2000-2001, when Enron manipulated energy shortages and the market to drive electric prices up 20-fold.

“We won’t see anything like the energy withholding crisis,” Lyon said.

California ISO

See the full story at The Energy Times Here

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148 thoughts on “Eclipseocalypse – Electrics Brace for Solar Darkness

  1. How is Gov Moonbeam gong to solve the sun going down every night? Interferes with the solar power supply regularly.

    • A solar eclipse doesn’t last very long. Compared with being dark all night, the eclipse lasts only the blink of an eye. How about the energy lost due to an eclipse compared with that lost due to a cloudy day.

      This sounds so bogus.

      • Also air temps drop surprisingly fast during an eclipse. One minute you are out in the sun in a tee-short, the next you are popping indoors to find a thick shirt.

        It’s like going from midday to midnight in a couple of minutes, skipping afternoon, evening and dusk. It’s striking how quickly this happens.

        If someone in the totality band has automatic logging devices this would be worth recording.

        Since day time power in CA is heavily affected by aircon needs, presumably the demand will drop equally quickly.

      • commie B

        The interesting thing about this is that it is completely predicted, and therefore, in theory, should be manageable. Looking into how they manage it will give us a peek into how reliant they are on conventional power.

        Being ‘against big hydro’ and nukes and gas and coal as California is, they are creating a dependence on interlinks to states that will also be losing solar power at the same hour.

        The analogy is South Australia where the expected power suddenly drops and interlinks have to pick up the load. If nothing at all happens, it will be because of good planning using available resources. So, what happens of those resources are removed from the system? Looking ahead we will be able to predict when the power supply tipping point is passed, and supply catastrophe is manifested.

        It is hard to imagine a dumber move than to remove critical power generation systems before having in place something reliable to replace it. If things continue as they are, California will be a very easy target for disruptors, whatever their political motivation. A system running on the edge of failing all the time is easy to target.

      • It is true.

        In addition, day length changes with the seasons, which has far more impact on energy generation over that of cloudy weather.

        While developing the solar system, they might have planned for such eventuality of change in power generation over the year.

        Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

      • Also cloudy weather change from year to year — dry to wet.

        Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

      • @Greg – that depends on the RH. I’ve been in two eclipses (not quite total, but close). The one in NH hardly did anything at all, while the one in AZ did make a noticeable difference. (Standing out in the sun both times.)

      • And not just length of day but also Sun angle, is very critical to the amount of power that can be generated.

      • As noted California has very few cloudy days during the summer months. Which also happened to be the warm months, which is when most of the power is used for air conditioning. And cloudy days don’t always affect an entire state, particularly one that has large desert areas. But the cloudy days they do have tend to be cool and during the low Son season anyway, when few people are using air conditioning.

      • CommieBob
        This illustrates the unspoken reality of solar and wind power: You need a one to one redundancy in generating capacity of reliable, controllable, flip of a switch hydro/fossil/nuke for every watt of wind/solar. It is not bogus to plan for this need as a matter of policy. It is common sense.

    • Don’t forget clouds, too. And winter. The occur a little more frequently than total eclipses.

      Totality lasts about 2 minutes, but it takes about 2 h to reach totality and 2 h to return to normality.

      • for Moonbeam’s Sacramento it’s partial eclipse with 21% of solar disc visible at maximum, not much of an effect for the late afternoon.
        Magnitude: 0.826
        Obscuration: 78.66%
        Start of partial eclipse (C1) : 16:02:36
        Maximum eclipse : 17:01.6
        End of partial eclipse (C4) : 18:39:22.4

      • apologies, you are right,or as now known the ‘Universal Time’ ( local 9am -11.40am ?)

    • Install batteries, that wont take long, 100 days according to the construction time in South Australia. That is the time Elon Musk has to complete the construction of a battery installation or it’s free. Critics have said the 300 MW storage capacity is not enough. Maybe it isn’t now but the clever thing is …. it is constructed so that it is possible to just keep adding more. Nowhere near the complexity involved in building coal fired power stations or nuclear power stations.

      • How “sustainable” are these batteries?
        How “environmentally friendly” are the techniques used to extract the materials?
        How can anything using large amounts of those materials be termed “renewable”?
        To achieve the wind/solar/electric vehicle dream will take enormous numbers of these things. . .

      • Ah, but! Power stations GENERATE electricity, batteries STORE electricity which has to be generated first. Notice a difference, Steve?

      • He has to complete it in a 100 days or it’s free?
        You mean the people who subsidized it in the first place will have to pay for it or that Elon will repay all the subsidies?

      • Take Away: “In fact using a cost of $300 Billion per TWh of battery backup capacity, replaced every 3 years or so, would probably be a quite accurate working number. Check my maths if you like. ”

        A lot of science denial here. Is this a serious engineering based page or is anyone allowed to voice their science denying beliefs w/o bothering to check the facts and the calculations first?

        The high school level maths of the engineering is worth a lot more than uncosted beliefs w/o any numerate backup applied?

        I’ll give you some easy to validate independently data – in the link. Example I have is one week of UK winter supply from batteries w. no solar or wind renewables – a typical February situation – needs $2Trillion dollars worth of the best and lowest cost batteries, replaced evrey 3 years or so.. That one battery buy would pay for 400GW of new nuclear generation, probabaly 4 times the power the UK will need, lasting 60 years, at $5Billion per GW capacity – or 100GW and $1.5Trillion dollars off our bills. Zero carbon, wholy sustainable, safest of all. But those are only the engineering facts, not the beliefs.

        Storage is a VERY expensive technology and approach to be avoided whenever it ca be in energy supply, generation and use on demand is far better. Storing energy from intense primary sources AFTER it is released takes a lot more materials to create enough capacity to store the same amount of energy, and then regenerate it.

        This basic intensity problem KWh/m^3 re fuel, and Watts/m^2 on land, is why power stations using intense fuel are small and use few resources to build, and storage or renewable energy farms are huge and resource intensive. The laws of physics and characteristics of energy density are not changed by subsidy or “new technology”. Li-Ion is high density so it is useful as a lightweight portable mobile energy store, but more expensve as a result. Lead Acid Deep Cycle flooded accumulators are better and cheaper in the solar application, non mobile, as any engineer who has studied the market can tell you. But pointless overhead for large scale enrgy supply that has no mobility requirement, it has replaced that with a grid..

        Storage cost is on top of any actual generation cost. With gas and nuclear you have no huge storage cost or subsidies, they just deliver energy at the level we need, when we need it. Storage is horribly expensive, because you cannot store pure energy, you have to convert it to potential energy of some form, and regenerate it as needed. So easily twice as much real cost,

        In fact using a cost of $300 Billion per TWh of backup capacity, replaced every 3 years or so, would probably be a quite accurate working number on current battery costs. Check my maths if you like. You wil find it hard to get an honest LCOE figure for pumped storage/hydro, BTW.

        https://www.dropbox.com/s/k6wtlsm3si4jdf9/Battery%20Cost%20Summary.htm?dl=0

        The nonsense of a grid electricity supply that prefers the laws of politicians and religious green science deniers to the laws of physics is obvious in the cost of electricity.

        35¢/KWh in California, 12¢/KWH in other states, some lower. A lot of that overpricing is going into “renewable enterpreneurs” pockets. Like energy Snake Oil salesmen Elon Musk, who isn’t selling enough cars or batteries that just can’t at any affordable price. Selling shiny green technology to the technologically and economically challenged. The American way.

        When we have pervasive zero carbon nuclear grid, the only tech that can deliver the energy we need when we need it after fossil in most non-desert climates , and at 12¢/KWh, then battery powered cars will be fine (and taxed a lot more as gas taxes disapear – that is my only forecast, the rest is fact you can cehck) .

      • Tesla batteries create ‘eight years with or driving’ in CO2. But there is the decommissioning. I am I Mongolia, the land of the dead Prius. The batteries are piling up and no one knows what to do with them. Huge numbers.

        What will S Aus do with hundreds of MW worth of dead rechargeables?

      • Battery store energy. 300 megawatts is not an amount of energy it’s an amount of power. If you have 300 megawatts but it’s only for one minute that’s not very much electricity.
        Perhaps you meant to say 300 megawatt-hours.
        For this eclipse they will need an additional 6,000 megawatts of capacity over a period of several hours, according to the story anyway. And that’s a tiny amount of total demand.
        IIRC, in the u.s. wind and solar combined are less than 5% of total instslled power capacity.
        Or is it 5%of total energy produced in a year?
        Two completely different questions.
        By way of comparison Peak power demand for California was a July day about 10 years ago, and on that day demand reached 50,270 megawatts.
        Assuming that one on for a period of 10 hours, that’s over half a million megawatt-hours of energy needed.
        300 megawatts hours over 10 hours, is 30 megawatts per hour.
        So on a hot summer day California might need half a million megawatt-hours. 300 megawatts- hours will not last one city more than a few hours. If it was a small city..
        Peak demand for Los Angeles is over 6,000 megawatts.
        300 megawatts is less than 5%of peak demand just for Los Angeles alone.

      • Beyond the question of what to do with the batteries, and the amount of CO2 that is emitted during the manufacturing of those batteries, is the question of Replacements after they wear out. If those batteries are relied upon and they need to be replaced they will need to be replaced immediately so whatever money is spent is basically just wasted.
        Find out how much is wasted just amortize those batteries over the length of time that they can be expected to last. Because on that day you’ll need to buy new ones plus get rid of the old ones. And every megawatt of power you store in a battery causes huge losses. You never get most of that power back.
        I predict that it will never ever ever be possible to store enough power overnight for intermittent sources like solar to be able to meet demand.

      • I just imagine if all of the cars in California also needed power?
        Rather than just a small percentage of electric cars there are today
        No some people have suggested a smart grid, where in the batteries and people’s houses will be automatically tapped for backup power to be fed into the grid.
        But think about that for a minute. If there was ever an interruption in Supply and everyone’s batteries were tap to supply-demand, an entire city or state or whatever the area in question is, all of those people would walk into the garage in the morning to find that they don’t have any power in their battery and they can’t go anywhere.
        I wonder how that will go over, among people who spent a whole bunch of money on an electric car?

      • brianrlcatt
        July 9, 2017 at 5:04 am

        “A lot of science denial here. Is this a serious engineering based page or is anyone allowed to voice their science denying beliefs w/o bothering to check the facts and the calculations first?”
        ——————————–
        I see that you were published, so that answers your question.
        As for the rest of your intro… bwahahaaa

      • Li Ion batteries last the longest if they are charged to 90%, drained to 10% and back again.
        Any other charge and discharge cycle and you dramatically decrease total life expectancy.
        First off, For optimum life, you can only use 80% of your available battery supply, so you immediately need to increase total supply by 20%
        Beyond that, given the randomness of both generation and demand, the idea that you can charge and discharge at anywhere near an optimum pattern is absurd. So you can reject those idealized life projections you are always reading about.

      • Batteries? The largest battery I have read of in service is a 80 megawatt-hour installation, with a proposed 120 MWH on order. Backup for several minutes?
        What you and Roger Sowell act as if they exist would have ratings in gigawatt-hours. Shipstones are fiction

      • “you can only use 80% of your available battery supply, so you immediately need to increase total supply by 20%”

        No, you are mathematically incorrect.
        In order to go from 80% to 100% you need to increase the supply by 25%
        …..
        80 x (1.25) = 100

      • Steve

        A recent study commissioned by the Swedish Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of the Environment looked at the life cycle CO2 emissions of lithium-ion batteries – manufacturing and use.

        Bottom line: you can drive a conventional car with a 2l engine [think Malibu or Outback] for 8 years [!] @ 20,000km/year = 160,000km = 100,000 miles just to catch up with the CO2 due to the manufacturing of a Tesla S battery bank. These batteries have a 3-4 year life span after which they need to be replaced and so the cycle starts again.

        As for Musk’s South Australia stunt, do the math: at approx. 200kg of CO2 emissions at the manufacturing stage per kW installed batteries, a 300 mW facility would have an up front “price tag” of 60 million tons of CO2 emissions, to be repeated when the batteries need to be replaced.

      • If that data on battery life is for real, it is very good news for electric cars.
        And stored battery power in general.
        But I wonder about the charge/discharge cycles of a car vs a mains power backup?
        I suspect that many Tesla owners never come close to draining the battery. That would seem nerve wracking to be driving like that, constantly having to monitor battery power remaining and where you can recharge.
        I think most of them likely keep the car plugged in whenever possible, like I do with my smartphone.
        The article also implies but does not state clearly that supercharging may be what makes this surprising news possible. Can solar cells do whatever the equivalent of supercharging would be for a battery bank of 300 MW-h?
        Does not say.

        In any case, it is good news if true, but only alleviates one of the issues with storing enough power to energize a country, state, or even a little town with battery power stored from wind and sun devices.

        We have seen what happens in even a city wide blackout…on many occasions riots and looting started up within minutes.
        Imagine if it was a regular occurrence, predictable in advance y people monitoring the weather during cloudy windless periods?
        Only one of the many ways that intermittent power could cause a breakdown of social order.

      • BTW, I recall reading many years ago about some similar sort of findings regarding the batteries in Prius’s.
        And I think Elon Musk has promised to replace for free any battery that fails…although I DNR how long that offer was for.

      • Guess what happens to a Microsoft “Surface” computer if the battery fails?

        A word of warning: make sure your data is backed up.

      • “Nowhere near the complexity involved in building coal fired power stations or nuclear power stations.”

        Oh dear, you really haven’t a clue, have you?

      • Michael Darby:

        In France Renault sells the Zoe – the Renault/Nissan Leaf clone.

        When you buy a Zoe in the EU, you sign an agreement to have Renault replace under contract the entire battery bank no later than 24 months after purchase.

        Why? Because industry insiders know that with the recharging patterns expected from typical users – e.g. recharging batteries when they are not entirely run down [lithium-ion batteries are notorious for so called “battery memory”, look it up] – these battery packs will be useless in day-to-day use terms within 24 months.

        There is no reason to think that the batteries involved in Musk’s 300 mW South Australia publicity caper will behave any different.

        Need anymore pointers?

      • I know that nickel cadmium batteries develop problems with “memory” very readily, but I had thought lithium ion batteries were not so prone to this effect.
        Tetris, are you saying you dispute the findings of the article posted by M. Darby?

      • The article on the Tesla batteries claims to be based on measurements of actual battery packs…empirical data, not anything theorized.
        Is the article “fake news”?
        I know that cell phone batteries wear out after about 1000 or less cycles of charging and discharging.
        But this is much better than Ni-Cad or metal hydride batteries used to do.
        My understanding was that the lithium ion batteries “wear out”…they lose ability to be recharged, like lead-acid batteries do.
        I know that things like cordless drills and flashlights with lithium ion batteries perform far better than ones that used nickel cadmium batteries…they are far better and long lasting.
        I have a Black and Decker drill I purchased several years ago with an 18v lithium ion battery pack.
        I have used it sporadically, and have found it still holding a charge after sitting for a year or more.
        It still works fine after at least four years…maybe 5, not sure.
        Nicads become drained with lack of use in a few weeks, even when new.
        On the other hand, I have a set of Ryobi tools that have 18 volt lithium ion packs that I use on my work truck…I use it a couple of times a week, frequently every day, and I only have to charge the batteries every month or two…it still works fine after at least four years…no noticeable degradation in performance.
        These packs have an internal chip that turns them off when they get to a certain level, preventing draining them so far they become degraded. And the charger is also equipped with a smart chip…it charges them then turns off the current, avoiding overcharging.
        So there is some disparity here between what I have found with cell phone batteries and cordless tool batteries.
        I also have at home some flashlights that have LED bulbs and lithium ion batteries. I have one I use every day…Black and Decker, 900 lumens…very bright, like a spot light.
        It also has smart tech built in. I used it every night, and it is still going strong after several years.

    • Hmmmmm . . . . how exactly does this differ from episodes of persistent could cover, which can last for days on end??

      Just wondering.

      • It’s the geographic extent of the lower power area and the speed at which it travels.

      • Exactly.
        No sun at all, and wind typically is greatly diminished after the sun sets as well.

  2. I remember a total eclipse when the street lights came on. Think of all the electricity Gov. Brown could save if he remembers to turn them off ahead of time.

    • There’s no way to turn street lights off except by disconnecting the power supply one at a time wherever the tap is. Those things don’t have switches, they have photo eye controllers attached to each fixture.

    • Upon further thought, this may not be true for every place there are street lights.
      many are hard wired to the grid, but in other places one photo eye controls a whole block or section of blocks, and many highways interchanges have all the lights on one photo eye.
      In such places, it is likely that there is also a disconnect that can be thrown manually.
      Some may even be able to be controlled remotely.
      But the type of switch needed for this capability is an order of magnitude or great more expensive than a regular breaker or disconnect.
      For comparison, if you want to put a photo eye on some lights at your house, you can do it with a unit that cost $10-15 dollars at a home or hardware store.
      If you wanted to attach them all to one photo eye so they all went on and off together, you could install the photo eye near the breaker. But standard photo eye controllers are rated at 1500-2000 watts…enough for one big light, or several small ones, but not a whole block’s worth. And those things are cheaply made…they have a short lifetime and a high failure rate.
      To use a standard photo eye on a large amount of lights, you would typically install a magnetic contactor, and wire that to a control circuit which includes the photo eye. It is then easy to install any other type of relay you want on that control circuit…like maybe an alarm system, or a internet connected switch. Typically there is an overload relay on such circuits to prevent damage to such expensive equipment due to a short or a power surge.
      But magnetic contactors that can do this are expensive…and the more flexibility you want to have, the more they cost.
      Definite purpose contactors are much less than the preferred IEC contactors, but have very limited flexibility.
      A high quality IEC contactor that can handle 60 amps at 240 volts retails for several hundred dollars.
      And any device that is complicated not only costs more but has more that can go wrong with it.
      In practical terms, can go wrong translates eventually into will go wrong.
      Very expensive for something like lighting, not just in device cost but installation, wiring and mounting, and the inevitable service when something fails.

      • I have always thought streetlights use a gigantic amount of power that is lots of the time completely wasted…there is no one around at all.
        Having a way to make them only come on when people were in an area would likely save tons of money…but it would have to be quick and foolproof.
        Maybe that is the sort of thing people who want to reduce some carbon footprints should be working on.

    • The viable long-term renewable power solution is to feed the corn (and soybeans) to horses then you can have…….renewable horsepower……plus fertilizer to use to grow more corn and soybeans.

      Horse meat sausage for breakfast, anyone?

  3. Ah, those good old Enron days, back when they had the biggest US push for cap-and-trade…

    • ENRON was a big funder of climate alarmism. They were trying to get a monopoly on US gas supplies, esp N Dakota. The idea was to ban coal and force gas to be used instead on the basis of global warming from CO2. They are, at root, far more responsible for the current pro-gas anti-coal movement than is generally realised. A book is needed to describe the lunacies they engaged in in terms of ‘the climate’.

  4. The grossly distorted comparison of the sc@m that is solar power with nuclear power is LUDICROUS.

    Translation of above article:

    “We want very badly for you suckers to believe solar power is a good “‘investment.’

    Keep the production and maintenance subsidies coming!”

    At least they sound desperate. :)That was cheering. Heh.

    • Janice

      You seem to underestimate the value of good intentions in the calculus of the cost of energy.

      Let’s have a little more credit, literally, for that next time, ok?

      We have to share our comprehension of ‘how these things work’ with the public. The alternative is too awful to contemplate.

      • I suspect that this whole thing may not be over until a wide section of the general public receives a very startling lesson in ” how these things work”.

      • Since you brought it up.
        After thirty years of detrimental renewable policies; exactly what are renewable’s “good intentions” worth these days?

        Probably Tesla’s negative P/E rate -65.6 on July 1st, 2017.

        It’s amazing what a company that spends more money than they earn is worth in a Kool-Aid world.

    • I wish somebody would address the fraud that California is getting anything like 30% of it’s energy from solar. That might be possible if you count the energy from the natural gas driven turbines used to cover nighttime and other interruptions to solar service. Of course that is fossil fuel generation so the environmentalists don’t really want to claim that baby. Somebody here must know in detail how much of California’s energy grid is really run on solar and wind

      • fossilsage:

        I’ve been playing with a cool site at EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration) that is running a beta data pull process.

        You get a code, then download the API module/macro/addin for Excel into a spreadsheet.

        Open up the data browser. Select the data item(s) and they pot into the spreadsheet.

        You can also build quick data tables right at the web site: e.g. This link pulls all Solar.
        https://www.eia.gov/opendata/qb.php?category=1718408&sdid=ELEC.GEN.TSN-CA-99.A

        A process that brings u[p a nasty point.
        Solar numbers consist of Industry generated and privately owned PV panels.

        The industry numbers are gathered from data sheets the industry generators are required to full in.

        Private PV panels numbers are “estimated” via model.
        Basically all known installations are multiplied by a predicted electric generating production number.

        Whether the PV panel/array is actually in service or not.

        e.g.:
        Above, the author uses Solar generated 42,619 Megawatts (I assume hours), for 2016.

        EIA’s official production number for 2016 is 56,221 Megawatt Hours.

        Only that estimate includes privately owned PV panel estimated solar generated energy of 19,467 Megawatt Hours during 2016.

        According to their dodgy models, 35% of the nation’s Solar energy is generated via privately owned PV panel installations.

        Odd, that one can not see privately owned PV panel operation in graphs.

        Add to that, another allegedly official solar generating number is NREL, “National Energy Renewable Laboratory”
        A name that should be familiar, since NREL is one of the government laboratories whose funding is charged as “Fossil Fuel Subsidies” and bulks up a significant part of the “fossil fuel subsidies” along with the othe Government laboratories similarly charged..

        NREL’s official solar generating estimate is tough to find, even though they provide one of the PV Solar models used to generate private PV usage.
        http://pvwatts.nrel.gov/

        There is a tough chewing report with lots of fancy glitzed charts using dubious number. Remember, NREL “estimates” private PV usage and that enables tem to drive a significant ratio of the charts into “better performance”.

        Clipped From: http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy17osti/67639.pdf

  5. 5 nuclear plants would put out 18,000 MWe during those 3 hours…(assuming 1200 MWe units)…it is impressive that California can generate 2000 MWe solar per hour during the day…but if they can generate 2000 MWe per hour, why did they only generate 42,619 MWe last year? If they can generate 2000 MWe/hr (as this article implies) then they should be generating 20,000 MWe per day….I’m sure it’s just my math that is off…

    • Also consider the angle of incidence. At the time of max eclipse, shortly after 10 a.m. local time, the sun is still far from maximum solar production levels. If totality had been at 1 p.m. the drop in power production would be greater

      • But we already know how many megawatts they will need to replace the shortage, so that has already been factored in.

      • And fortunately those extra megawatts are available thanks to fossil fuels. If the entire U.S. was powered by solar, there would be no back-up available at the backups would also be facing the eclipse induced rolling brownouts
        Or as in Ca, Governor Brownouts

    • Steve, good point. If the system is only generating at 25% of capacity at the time, then losing it is only what they happen to produce. It means there must be a lot of backup in the system.

      The lunacy is shutting down that backup in an attempt to signal greeniness to acolytes.

    • At the equinoxes the Sun is up for 12 hours everywhere on Earth. This time of year in the northern hemisphere it is longer than that, and the closer to the pole you are the more it is longer than 12 hours.
      Here in Fort Myers which is south of the entire State of California Sunrise is about 6:40 a.m. and it sets at about 8:20 or so today.
      In the San Francisco Sunrise is about 5:56 in the morning and sets at about 8:35 in the evening.
      So for much of California the Sun is up for over 14 hours this time of year.

  6. I really don’t think that will be any worse than a cloudy day…What’s this all about? So it will last for a couple minutes…in Oregon it will last for 2.2 minuted total eclipse. What’s the big deal? If it is cloudy in Oregon it won’t be of any consequence. A partial eclipse is like no eclipse at all. I was in a total eclipse in FL in the 70s – it was cloudy and drizzling and the clouds dispersed the sunlight so that no darkness occurred other than maybe equivalent to a thunderstorm passing through…I don’t get the concern…

    • I drove 300 miles to Perry Florida in 1970 and the cloud cover made it less than spectacular. No worse than some dark clouds for a couple of minutes. It was total, but never got dark because of the cloud cover which dispersed the sunlight on the edges ever let it get “dark”. Make sure if you are traveling to Oregon or WY etc. ,that you know of the forecast for cloud cover to see the effects of a total eclipse…Have to have clear sky’s.

      • It is a very important consideration for people travelling to see the eclipse.
        I will be.
        I would prefer to go to the point of max eclipse in southern Illinois, but cloud cover at that time of year in that location is something like 60% IIRC.
        There are published maps of the chance of clouds for the entire country.
        I am figuring that someplace very open is the best choice, so if you wake up that morning and the forecast is for clouds, you can find out where it will be sunny and still have time to get there…assuming it is not a 1000 mile wide upper level low and you are sh!t out of luck.
        It will not be possible to have any idea of clouds until just before the event.
        Best case is that a cold front will pass by the day before and there will be a near 100 % chance of clear skies. This is sometimes forecastable many days in advance…and interest will be high.

      • Oh yeah…someplace like Nebraska, or Wyoming… with open vistas and lightly travelled straight roads with high speed limits.

  7. I am surprised that a partial eclipse would have any real noticeable effect. I have photographed a partial and an annular eclipse and if I had not been looking at the sun (filtered) would never have noticed as in both cases it was brighter outside than a cloudy day.

    • Do you have a “solar powered calculator”?
      If you want to test the potential effects of a 25% loss of light, just cover 1 of the 4 cells at the top and try using it.

      • Do you have a “solar powered calculator”?
        If you want to test the potential effects of a 25% loss of light, just cover 1 of the 4 cells at the top and try using it.

        If it fails, the reason is not 25% less power, but the drop in voltage. Try covering half of each cell instead of one cell.

        Solar powered calculators run with a really tiny amount of light, so 1% of sunlight is enough.

        However, this does not mean a solar farm could generate full power during an exclipse. No. The drop in production will be significant and will last for an hour or more.

    • Our eyes adjust to changing light levels.
      It was not as bright, but when your iris opens and closes with changing levels our perception of it is limited.

      You can be sure that if 80% of the disc of the sun is blocked by the moon, power on a solar panel will be reduced by 80%.

      When I used to sell plants, i found that many people have a drastically limited understanding of how bright the full sun is compared to say a sunny window inside.
      There is no comparison…

      Photographers know this well…at least in the days of film and having to adjust cameras manually…

    • I saw the May 1994 annular eclipse. Clear mid-morning, max obscuration ~89%. It looked like a hazy day.

  8. Can’t believe the eclipse would a concern for the readons already cited – nighttime, clouds, etc, – but I wonder if grid stability would be an issue. Clouds wouldn’t hit all the solar fields, having them go from sunny to cloudy simultaneously, and nighttime requires gradual phasing in of other feeds, and phasing them out many hours later. An eclipse would require a much faster process.

  9. Of course it will be all hands on deck. Imagine the headlines if just a few minutes of lost sun brought down the grid. It would highlight the risks of renewable’s the world-over. There will be back-ups of the back-ups in place. It will be managed successfully just at what cost?

  10. Governor Emperor Moon Beam, aka the lowly lessor race human Jerry Brown who pervs the Gay Strip Clubs of the Tenderloin District San Francisco will scam $600 Billion from lower race humans in California, and give the Booty to the UN for the Green Climate Fund and the Greater Race Humans in Germany and France.

    • Erm. Mod? One strike on this one…

      Reply: He’s rude and a bit bigoted, but he’s criticizing a public figure, not using any profanity, and not attacking anyone here. Sorry, it’s a ball not a strike.~ctm

      • In my opinion, “race” is a profanity. But I’m from the part of the planet “race” is a word only used by racists and dog-owners — which make it worse.

  11. An interesting metric for energy production and conversion technologies would be ecological disruption per unit energy produced/converted. It is especially salient for low-density energy conversion technologies.

  12. This is all caused by the fossil fuel companies that should be made to pay. California should take drastic action now to call this eclipse off and reschedule it for during the night when the solar panels are not operational. Another approach would be to move the Moon farther from the Earth.

    • Just be patient about the Moon, it’s going. It would have been better a couple of billion years ago when it was so much closer so that tides were probably like tidal waves and we could have engineered some really neat hydro generation.

      • They need to quickly get a court order which will force Mother Nature to postpone this event indefinitely. They should make Mother Nature entirely responsible for any expenses attributed to this event.

  13. Don’t be fooled or deterred by all the negative comment. If you can, no matter how inconvenient, get to where the eclipse is total.

    There’s nothing else on earth like it. A partial eclipse isn’t worth crossing the street for, but a total eclipse is an amazing experience. Even 99.999% wouldn’t cut it. Just wait and see that pin-prick of light set the world to rights at the end. There’s a reason the super-wealthy fly around the world to experience it.

    My next (Sydney 2028) will be my fifth and I’ve been lucky with the weather for the previous four. There aren’t that many, so make a few sacrifices if necessary, to experience it.

    • Go inland to Dubbo. Sydney gets cloudy in winter. The outback less so. (The eclipse passes over my house. But I won’t be there to see it.)

    • We’re going to South Carolina (USA), gnome. Only chance I’ll ever have. I suspect even if it’s cloudy (hope not!) it will be worth the trip.

  14. This is not near the top of my list of concerns. Solar eclipses are rare and known well in advance. There is much time for preparation and extensive backup plans can be made so that all are on high alert. More mundane events that occur with greater frequency and variance seem to be a more practical potent risk.

    • But nothing odd about the concerns that need to be addressed and challenges presented being publicized and discussed in advance. It just should not be twisted afterwards to imply the concerns were unwarranted.

    • Eclipses are known well into the past as well. For reasons still unclear, the Aztecs calculated the eclipses back 200m years. Maybe it was to demonstrate they could do it to get their degree, ‘adding to the knowledge base’.

      I wonder what we would do with 200m years of future eclipses. Probably the solar system isn’t as accurate as the math involved.

  15. Also air temps drop surprisingly fast during an eclipse.
    ============

    Interesting that isn’t it?

    Same thing happens every day when the ‘forcing’, the sun drops below the horizon.

    Now compare that with claims of large lags in temperature.

    One of the experiments you can do yourself that shows climate science is struggling

  16. This is a non story, as solar power vanishes every night.

    The only thing of unusual interest is the ramp rate. solar eclipses happen faster than nightfall.

    • Yes and a tropical system causes occasional cloudy day across much of the state and are predicted with far less advance notice.

  17. It looks like they are raising concerns about a non-problem so that they can publicly pat themselves on the back for, “managing the crisis” after nothing bad happens.

  18. The fuss about the eclipse and lost power is in part an attempt to emphasize the “massive” contribution of solar to California’s electricity market, but also partly a delaying tactic till some of the computer modelers find a way to blame the eclipse on global warming.

  19. A few years ago there was a partial eclipse here in England and we had similar scare stories in the newspapers beforehand. I think one paper even speculated that electric trains might grind to a halt during this event. The letters page the next day was full of people asking how trains manage to run at night, etc etc

    In the event it was a very overcast day and I doubt if anyone noticed this partial eclipse anyway.

      • They have a paper to print everyday…constant need for content.
        And reporters are compelled, for some strange reason, to earn their keep.
        Most fail, IMO.

  20. How do they brace for a rainy day? That lasts much longer than an eclipse. Obviously the capability to generate the required power exists. This article only exists because the cause of the lost solar power is predictable years in advance, so planning can be done. The only way to overcome either is to turn to a more reliable source of energy.

  21. In any event, I plan on being on the centerline in Casper with telescope, camera and grandchildren Lord willing and the creek don’t rise. 3rd week in August is not historically a good weather week here in WY. Possible clouds/rain. We’ll see. Don’t really care too much about California or the 60% of their population that are idiots. Feel bad for the 40% who are not.

  22. Solar and wind reverse our previous operating concept of freeing ourselves from nature. Interesting.

  23. this has to be from the Onion … I doubt that there are more than a handful of solar panels in the path of the eclipse … there is no way they lose that much power on their grind … no way …

    • The path noted on the maps that are circulated is the path of totality.
      Partial eclipse conditions extend across a wide area, and it takes several hours from first contact to last contact.
      One way to look at it is…the sun is much wider than the moon, so sun shadows are fuzzy.
      If any of the solar disc is blocked, power reaching the solar panels is reduced.
      This is not mysterious or in question…the sun it not a point source, it is a disc, and solar power comes from the whole disc. (Not sure if the center gives us as much power per unit area as the edges of the sun…good question…anyone know?)
      The umbra of the moon barely touches the Earth, which is why sometimes only an annular eclipse occurs.
      When it is far away in its varying orbit, the umbra fails to reach earth, but the penumbra still covers us…it is very wide…much wider than the moon itself.
      And why some eclipses are very long and some short…if the moon is at a close point in its orbit, like at perigee (and the eccentricity varies over time as well…some perigees are closer than others…hence “super moons”) we go through a wider part of the umbra.

  24. When the eclipse was first announced, I noted that the most interesting thing about an eclipse would be the reactions of people in isolated locations that were still at the primitive level. They would be frightened and most affected by the eclipse. I had no idea there could be a similar event in an advanced country that foolishly used weather for electrical generation. I suppose advanced planning will prevent it. It’s very fortunate that the permanent drought in California ended or that hydro backup would not be there.

    I wonder if Oregon and Washington have this problem. They use a lot of solar too. Of course, they also have a lot of hydro.

  25. So, the loss of sunlight won’t be a problem as long as there was enough snow over the winter to provide hydro-power.

    Welcome to the newest greenie “advancement” of power supplies subject to the whims of astronomical events and weather.

  26. The most incredible thing about eclipses is how dramatically they illustrate the incredible coincidence of the similarly in size of the discs of the sun and moon: The sun is about 400 times wider than the moon, but also about 391 times further away.
    The size is so similar that the variation in the distance to the moon is the difference between the moon covering the sun for seven minutes or not even covering it up all the way at all.
    The astoundingness of this coincidence is hard to overstate…if you are looking for some concrete reason to believe that the Earth (and everything else) was created…this may be all you need.

    I mean…what are the odds?

      • Yes, the moon is “just passing through” it’s current orbital range, as tidal friction brings it closer and closer.
        So they say…looks the same to me ;-)
        But again…what are the odds?
        It was a serious question…anyone know how to calculate what the odds are?

      • ” as tidal friction brings it closer and closer.”

        You are clueless as to orbital dynamics. Tidal friction slows the Earth’s rotation down, and accelerates the Moon. The Moon is progressively getting further and further away.
        ….
        “First there is a real retardation of the Moon’s angular rate of orbital motion, due to tidal exchange of angular momentum between Earth and Moon. This increases the Moon’s angular momentum around Earth (and moves the Moon to a higher orbit with a lower orbital speed). ”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tidal_acceleration#Earth.E2.80.93Moon_system

      • And curiously, as the moon accelerates (i.e. F = ma) and spirals to a higher orbit, kinetic energy is converted to potential energy and the result is the moon slows down!

        One of the things that impressed me with “rocket science” is how much can be done with just high school physics.

        It really helps to have played SpaceWar! too back in the day where you could learn from computer games. :-)

      • I mean…what are the odds?….
        BTW, I am not looking for a theological discussion here…just sayin’.

        “Rare Earth”.
        Everybody won the lottery!

      • Actually I do have a clue, just not a inside out and backwards knowledge of tidal interactions.
        I was thinking I had written that down backwards even as I hit the post comment button.
        In any case, it is rather strange, don’t you think, that frictions causes a higher orbit?
        Because if I am piloting my spaceship in orbit around Ceti Alpha 5, and I need to get into a higher orbit to avoid being shipjacked by Khan and his minions, I am thinking I need to speed up.

        But I also recall in the Larry Niven’s Integral Trees/Smoke Ring novels, the world he created in that was really pretty freaky…especially the parts about figuring out which direction you needed to apply thrust in order to move a certain way…it was not like it is here on the Earf!
        Nope!

        In fact, i think I will have to read it again…have not done so in a long time.
        I never did completely wrap my head around “East takes you Out, Out takes you West, West takes you In, In takes you East. Port and Starboard bring you back”

        Last time I remember talking about orbital speeds, and realized my intuition of it was wrong, was during a discussion of construction of a space elevator.
        Could it be stable, or not?
        Could you just put a large mass in geosynchronous orbit and hang a very strong cable down to Earth?
        What forces would act on it?
        Oh, and if it was conductive, would it generate power?

  27. two year ago germany also experienced a solar eclipse. There were many predictions that they would have power problems and or blackouts as a result.Neither occurred. Their were no blackouts or grade problems caused by the blackout.

    Renewables make up a larger fraction of total power delivered in Germany than in California. In all likelihood california also will have no problems.

  28. When solar systems are installed at a given place, they work out the season output. I remember that in 70s some solar equipment companies & countries asked me the solar energy output at their places as I published some formulae for the estimation of solar and net radiation in an international solar energy journal. I provided them the monthly average estimates along with estimates for few individual years.

    A scientist working at ICRISAT [from Germany — von Oppen] in 70s he wanted to rest a pump to lift water from a lake in ICRISAT and he propagated solar cookers. I provided the data on solar energy data.

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

    • So maybe you would know, Dr. Reddy…if the disc of the sun is 80% blocked by the moon, what is the effect on power output?
      What about 50%
      Is it strictly proportional?
      Also, do you know if all points on the disc have the same flux rate?
      Or does more power come from the center than the limbs?

      • It all depends upon the location where you wanted measure — sun’s angle.

        Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

      • “It all depends upon the location where you wanted measure — sun’s angle”
        I am not sure I understand this.
        At any given angle, there will be a certain amount of power produced in a clear sky…with no eclipse ongoing.
        Given this value is x, and 50% of the solar disc is blocked, is the amount of power received by the panel then going to be 0.5x?
        I would think so, but that is just going by intuition.

        But that raises another thing I had wondered about over the years…why are panels not mounted on poles with servo motors to keep the panel facing the sun directly at all times of day?
        Given the cost of panels, and the value of the power produced, at what price would having a post and motor assembly be cost effective?

  29. In India, government is providing subsidy for solar systems of energy production. These are directly connected power grid — fluctuations in solar power production is not of much importance, but for profit it is important –. Water heating, it is not a problem, battery connected power is not a problem. Here they can be supplemented with grid power. I am using these in my house [for water heating, light, fans, TV, computer, etc] and not to three phased items

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
    .

  30. I hope Cali is being morally consistent and not taking power from States that insist people with male bits go to the male toilet and people with female bit go to the female toilet. They recently forbade travel to those heinous States that dont align with their view of the world. The may not be able to send college football teams away to some States now, so I trust they will not take tainted electrcity.

  31. This is bogus. A really good outbreak of the SW Monsoon can dim the sun for hours as opposed to the few minutes that will happen with this.

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