This article from UTILITY DIVE covers testimony by commissioners at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee hearing.
The U.S. grid faces major reliability challenges, according to members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission who used the word 34 times in their prepared testimony Thursday at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing.
There is a “looming reliability crisis in our electricity markets,” FERC Commissioner James Danly said.
“The United States is heading for a very catastrophic situation in terms of reliability,” FERC Commissioner Mark Christie said.
FERC Acting Chairman Willie Phillips said, “We face unprecedented challenges to the reliability of our nation’s electric system.”
Growing reliability and resilience challenges from extreme weather and cyber and physical security threats require changes to the U.S. grid, according to FERC Commissioner Allison Clements.https://www.utilitydive.com/news/ferc-grid-reliability-senate-energy-hearing/649523/
Christie said the main problem is that power plants are being retired at a faster pace than they’re being replaced, pointing to estimates from the PJM Interconnection.
About 40 GW, or 21% of PJM’s installed capacity, is at risk of retiring by 2030, the largest U.S. grid operator said in a Feb. 24 report. PJM expects only 15.1 GW to 30.6 GW of accredited capacity to come online by 2030.
“The arithmetic doesn’t work,” Christie said. “This problem is coming. It’s coming quickly. The red lights are flashing.”
Increasing transmission capability was discussed.
Also, new transmission could help ease reliability problems, according to Phillips.
“Transmission plays a critical role in facilitating the interconnection of new resources, while ensuring that the electric system remains reliable,” he said.
Phillips said he hopes FERC can issue an interregional transmission planning reform proposal in the “very near term.”
The points made during the commisioners’ testimony was disputed by Environmental Organizations.
Danly’s criticism of subsidies for renewable energy was off base, according to Devin Hartman, director of Energy and Environmental Policy at the R Street Institute, a free market-oriented public policy research group.
“Capacity markets secure sufficient levels of capacity irrespective of subsidy levels, but they cannot procure resources that governments prevent from being built or retained,” he said.
Also, utility integrated resource planning in RTOs can cause reliability problems, according to Hartman.
Allowing weather dependent sources on a grid is folly.
Agree with you, but note in the referenced article there are people trying mightily to finger, define actually, fossil fuel generation as problematic in extreme weather. Thus, it becomes “weather dependent”.
Sorta. There are electric compressors on gas pipelines (demanded by greens). They love self-fulfilling prophesies.
✔ This needs more public exposure.
hurricanes, tornados, thunderstorms all take down fossil fuels
However, FERC requires reserves great enough to supply 10% greater than the peak Winter and Summer load. Look at the typical daily usage and it becomes obvious that losing a coal/NG plant which can restart in less than a day will just a minor blip in service. In most cases not even affecting most of the homes/business in the service area.
As I have said on this site before. I have lived in the same house using the same electric company for almost 30 years. The first ten years I had less than three outages lasting more than 15 minutes. The power was as reliable as the land-line telephone. Ten years ago the Utility added 600 MW of Wind power. The outages increased to about every other month. I had to replace my clock radio with one that had built-in battery backup. Three years ago we were up to over 30% of the normal load provided by Wind power – with a preference on Wind Power. For the last three years the outages are up to over two a month. Some just a few minutes and some over several hours. during stormy seasons, more than weekly! At least I am retired now and the dog wakes me up when he has to go out in the morning
and it becomes obvious that losing a coal/NG plant which can restart in less than a day will just a minor blip in service. In most cases not even affecting most of the homes/business in the service area.
According to the Washington Post, post-Florence flooding in North Carolina released an estimated 150 truckloads of toxic sludge, known to contain “arsenic, lead, mercury, chromium” and other toxins, from a coal ash waste pit into the Cape Fear River. It also caused the shutdown of a natural gas plant at that same site. Samples tested by Earthjustice showed the flooding of three other coal ash waste pits.
One of the Brunswick nuclear reactors wasn’t brought back online until five days after Florence’s landfall, and the other took over a week to bring back online. Flooding initially prevented staff from accessing the site.
By contrast, renewable energy facilities bounced back almost immediately.
According to CBS, the only wind farm in the state survived unscathed. GreenTech Media reports solar panels were back online immediately as the storm passed, unless power line damage made that impossible. Solar farms were brought online remotely. Solar rooftop installers reported that virtually all the installed systems survived the storm and were running.
So what you’re saying is that renewables have one redeeming feature that is useful once every 10 years?
They kill bats, birds and whales, but that’s OK?
What DON”T those 3 things take down??
Nukes of hydro???
AND how often do fossil plants go down because of those 3 weather events?? Rarely. Actually ALMOST NEVER.
Those 3 things DEFINITLY take down solar or wind.
So what is your point Steven?
the point was OP said “Allowing weather dependent sources on a grid is folly.
IAM disputing THAT!! none of you are disputing me!
OP said Allowing weather dependent sources on a grid is folly.
i pointed out that FF can be taken out by weather
NONE of you can folly logic, so you all just proved me right.
How, pray tell, should weather dependent sources be priced? As they are not dispatchable, what level of discount should they suffer?
Letting malevolent or naive persons claim they are a normal part of the grid should be discouraged.
The rotation of the earth takes down solar every single day.
yes, but i never claimed it didnt.
OP claimed “Allowing weather dependent sources on a grid is folly.”
i dispute THAT.
see how logic works.
yes the rotation of the earth Moves the area where solar works
it does not take down solar.
guess whats shining at midnight?
The rotation of the earth takes down solar every single day.
nope the sun still up somewhere
Except that I am here. Not somewhere. No sun, no electricity.
Unless it’s snowing somewhere……
Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Thunderstorms and their associated WIND take down most anything in their paths including Transmission, Distribution and service points as well as trees and houses…
FF generation isn’t affected by No Wind or at night. Wind fails in Lull Wind and Solar fails 18 hours EVERY DAY
Allowing weather dependent sources on a grid is folly.
i am disputing this, none of you are disputing me
The more wind and solar toys used on a grid, the more conventional backup is required, for when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.
In fact much like today in the UK today where wind is contributing 19% and solar 5% of our energy rather than nearly 50% it should be contributing. Oh, 3% biomass (American wood pellets shipped across the Atlantic on diesel ships) and the rest is largely CCGT, Nuclear and 20% from European undersea interconnectors which that nice Mr. Putin has mined.
Yes allowing weather dependent sources on a gris is definitely folly.
nope. think through what you write.
the sun shines 24 hours a day.
Other than when it’s obscured by cloud, as it is in the UK much of the time.
coal gas nukes all vulnerable to extreme weather
There are vast differences in the level of being affected by weather. Try designing a wind turbine that will produce net power in freezing rain and still air.
That is rather different than a tornado bringing down transmission lines from a nuclear power plant.
An Eagle or Osprey can bring down transmission lines! Regardless of the fuel. Been there, seen that. Including Nukes.
And anything that takes down OH Transmission or Distribution Lines isn’t a weather caused Generation Failure either. Wind generation ceases if the wind is outside the Goldilocks Zone (either side) and Solar ceases from 3pm until 9am local time every single day.
So while Foul Weather affects ALL generation, transmission and distribution equally, fair weather can halt Wind and puffy white Clouds can periodically curtail Solar which isn’t available at night either
Allowing weather dependent sources on a grid is folly.
i dispute this
Dr. Lars Schernikau, an energy economist explains in some detail why allowing weather dependent sources on a grid is folly.
Energy policy in a word…
As an experienced G&T planning engineer I cringe whenever an Integrated Resource Plan includes “demand side management.” Rationing, indeed.
Ah, the old nope-a-dope fact-free “response.” Let me know when you next write an Integrated Resource Plan. Since I have, mine’s bigger than yours.
No doubt not discussed: https://www.cfact.org/2023/02/24/how-ferc-can-protect-the-grid-from-wind-and-solar/
The beginning: “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is taking comments on ways to limit the damage that renewables can do to grid reliability. See my https://www.cfact.org/2022/12/27/ferc-considers-constraining-renewables/.
FERC has no control over what power generators get built, that is a State function. But they do have a say in what is hooked into the grid, which is called interconnection. Reliability starts with interconnection approval. It is all a bit murky, but interconnection approvals seem to be in the hands of the independent system operators, under some sort of FERC authority. For example, PJM (the biggest ISO) recently asked FERC for permission to implement a two year moratorium on grid scale solar hookups.
The big reliability problem is that States and their regulated utilities are in a rush to shut down what are called “dispatchable” power plants. This means plants that can generate juice when it is needed, especially coal, nuclear and gas powered plants. The States and utilities are hot to replace this dispatchable iron with wind and solar generation, which only produces power when the weather is right, not when it is needed. These are called intermittent generators.
Obviously intermittent generators need dispatchable generators as backup, to provide the needed power when the weather is not right (including every night for solar). Energy storage via batteries and such would also do the job but it is impossibly expensive. See my https://www.cfact.org/2022/12/15/astronomical-battery-cost-looms-over-renewables/.
Given this background my basic idea is pretty simple. FERC should implement this simple rule:
Proposed FERC rule: In order to be approved for interconnection an intermittent generator must have sufficient backup.”
Lots more in the article.
I know it’s petty of me, but every time you write “juice” to mean electricity, I cringe.
And I just submitted an article that does it. I gotta be me.
If this is new news to the Senate or FERC, they obviously haven’t been reading WUWT for the past 10 years.
One remarkable aspect of all of this is the certainty that politicians and decision-makers will make a great show of being surprised when it all comes tumbling down, no matter how many times they have been warned about the highly predictable devastation they are engineering.
EXACTLY! They will claim that their EXPERTS told them it would work. HA HA!
They were following the scienxe
The green experts are telling them exactly that. In many silly studies.
The irony is a group of socialists and big government advocates having a discussion regarding how to create a marketplace for electricity.
When the report came out in February, I tried talking about the issue of reliability on a board I’m on related to other interests.
It was ugly. No one actually wanted to discuss the issue. At first, they said FERC was some oil industry propaganda team, then they just trotted out the old 97% memes. They finally simply asserted that FERC was wrong and all that was necessary was building more turbines and interconnecting regions (seemed pointless to respond that even if that were possible, the wind issue doesn’t make that a magic bullet anyway).
I did get the sense that more and more people are wondering why nuclear is not part of the solution. The current crisis in Ukraine, however, threatens to reduce that support (i.e., if you cut off the supply lines to a nuclear plant, cut off the power to the cooling equipment, then shell the plant, bad things nuclear might happen).
What sucks is that seemingly every region is drinking the kool-aid. New York and California may want to win the race to the bottom, but by the time they do, we’re all beyond hope. These morons simply do not understand that if we outsource energy production to China, as we’re doing, the coal plants they build to meet our needs still generate lots of CO2. So even if their 97% bull had much truth to it, sacrificing our energy security to their gods wouldn’t make a bit of difference.
Well understood phenomenon in the UK, described as the Knee Jerk* response.
*Knee Jerk – Government is warned of impending crisis. Government ignores warnings.
Crisis hits – Government response – Increase Taxes.
Spend Tax money claiming that was the intention all along, but it saves money.
Don’t bother cutting public services to pay for Taxation.
Print more money.
Rinse and repeat.
It is not a crisis, it is a war. Russia is shelling all civilian targets in their path. This strategy is called genocide. People are either dead or gone.
I worked at nuke plant and was responsible. for long term cooling. Looking at the causes of not having water, I determined when it came to people they would either be dead or gone long before they could exposed to radiation.
The same in Japan.
I love short term thing. What about radiation and cancer risk? Well what about food and clean drinking water that you have not thought about?
There may a food crisis different places in the world. Farmers are long term thinkers. They know fertilizer is not made with pixie dust.
Power requires long term thinking. The last thing a CEO wants is to build a new power plant but they know their state governor will blame him when the lights go because state regulators would not issue permits for new plants.
Anybody miss the old “natural monopoly” publicly-regulated integrated generation, transmission and distribution investor-owned utilities? The politicians were warned beginning in the 1970s but the get-rich-quick deregulation hustlers won the day. Layered on that mess is the crony capitalist green energy profiteers and we have the disaster now unfolding before our very eyes.
“Deregulation”, meaning the divestment of generation assets from the wire company (T&D) monopolies, was a good thing in that it created a competitive market in generation, as opposed to utilities being able to stuff redundant generation assets in rate base. The real problem is that progressive politicians, and therefore progressive utility commissioners, have completely bought into CAGW and are forcing wind, solar and demand-side management down the throats of captive customers.
And as a result, California Electricity prices have “Progressived” from 9¢kWH to 22¢kWH while other states are firmly at 11¢kWH
Well, if it’s any consolation, standard offered service (SOS) residential energy only rates in my state (CT) jumped from roughly 12 cts last year to 24 cts this year. While our regulators certainly qualify as ‘progressive’, the real drivers were Biden’s decisions to wage concurrent wars on energy and Russia.
I miss working for and getting power from a good IOU and glad I no longer get electricity from PG&E in Califonia.
The was a bipartisan congressional report on deregulation. The good did it right and the bad did it poorly. In Califonia, the profiteers were tax collectors and public utility districts. They were good at shifting blame to out of state investors.
When I was young, my father used to put the radio and listen to sea weather (“météo marine”). It’s very long but all of Europe is covered. It’s actually extremely short. If you believe wind energy is usable, wind shouldn’t have any tendency over a wide area.
If you ever listen to weather predictions, you can’t think wind energy is fine.
“Growing reliability and resilience challenges from extreme weather and cyber and physical security threats require changes to the U.S. grid…”
nothing to do with shutting down ff power plants….
“Danly’s criticism of subsidies for renewable energy was off base, according to Devin Hartman, director of Energy and Environmental Policy at the R Street Institute, a free market-oriented public policy research group.”
a free market research group? doesn’t sound like one
from the full article:
“Left out or under-emphasized were the reliability problems we’ve seen with fossil fuels during extreme weather events, the need to expand transmission and ongoing market reforms to manage a shifting resource mix.”
So, during a hurricane, solar and wind systems will work just fine. /sarc
Deven Hartman, from a ‘free market-oriented research group’, garners his wages from what free-market activity, or what free market advocates?
Have you not noticed that the purpose of legislation and the name of the legislation are very often diametrically opposed? That is also an easy ploy for activists organizations.
Unmentioned is that Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) has long been a source of silly thinking on a broad range of topics. Thus, right up Hickenlooper’s alley.
Fossil fuel generation has been a source of trouble in extreme weather, eh? How is it that when the grid contained only dispatchable assets (hydro, coal, gas, oil, and nuclear) and most of it local, there was almost never a problem? Well, as one one of my engineering colleagues told me last week — let the dopes figure it out the hard way.
“Growing reliability and resilience challenges from extreme weather …” Weather extremes are no different than in the past. It is the mass addition of unreliable and unstable W&S without adequate integrating transmission and control mechanisms that is destabilizing grids. The added costs of reliability upgrades necessitated by W&S are not being considered.
The FERC seems to be another of the US institutions crippled by political partisanship. Here is a FERC Commissioner (Danley, R) speaking:
“FERC has seemingly done everything in its power to ensure that our markets will fail. FERC eliminated the market’s economic guardrail—the minimum offer price rule—which had been established in certain markets to ensure that all generators offered their actual costs to prohibit price suppression. FERC has also directly interfered with price formation by allowing… “
“Our markets are failing, and FERC is not acting to fix them. “
Doesn’t sound like they are all pulling together.
‘FERC eliminated the market’s economic guardrail—the minimum offer price rule—which had been established in certain markets to ensure that all generators offered their actual costs to prohibit price suppression.’
Nick, notwithstanding what passes for a ‘market’ in your preferred version of a collective utopia, suppliers should be able to offer goods and services, including energy, to consumers at whatever price they deem appropriate. The problem, which you insist upon ignoring, is that wind and solar are given preferential treatment for dispatch. Let them bid their wares into the day ahead schedule like everyone else, but then hold them responsible for any incremental cost of providing energy if they are unable to do so.
At some point in time, I hope consumers such as myself get to subscribe to the power generator of my choice. The generator will each day, place sufficient power on the grid to satisfy their subscribers. Smart meters will be installed that can be accessed via the internet to cut off those subscribers whose generator is not meeting their subscriber’s needs. Transmission and distribution will be regulated and renumerated by rate payers as today.
I think many deregulated utilities are required to offer ‘choice’ in addition to their ‘standard offered service’ for energy supply. The problem I’ve seen is that the regulators also require these alternative suppliers to meet minimum requirements for ‘renewables’ in their offers, which obviously jacks up their costs / prices.
But I do like the idea of segmenting the energy market between conventional and renewable consumers, and posted a comment to that effect a while back. The basic idea would be to have conventional only and renewable only load supplied over the same wires by like suppliers, each of which would have their own day ahead auction and schedule. This would require the use of smart meters to curtail renewable demand when renewable supply was limited and for the system operator to curtail renewable supply when it was surplus to renewable demand, with the sole exception of possible renewable sales to conventional suppliers in real-time.
The advantages of such a system would include real price discovery, and therefore an efficient allocation of market resources between conventional and renewable generation, as well as a more stable grid, since grid operators wouldn’t be required to ‘chase’ intermittent renewable supplies. In any event. we’d certainly find out pretty quickly what real consumers, as opposed to our self-styled elites actually prefer.
I agree wholeheartedly. The telephone breakup is illustrative to an extent, even though the advent of cellular phone technology through everything into rapid change. If competitors could do their own switching and use common distribution cables, it was up to the customer to find the cheapest choice that met their expectations.
As it is now, unreliables are riding the coat tails of others to meet reliability concerns.
This is progress, they may not being saying the things I’d say or saying things the way I’d say it but it is a start. I don’t know much about R Street but I can tell you I would never listen to them. A self proclaimed free market outfit defending subsidies is all I have to know about them. Liars.
From the article: “Reliability problems are driven by two main issues: faulty capacity markets and a dearth of gas pipelines, according to [FERC Commissioner] Christie.“.
Christie needs his head read / isn’t doing his job. Ditto for all the other FERC commissioners cited bar one.
One FERC Commissioner, James Danly, does get it: “Danly said the culprit is subsidized renewable energy, which he contends undermines the economics of coal-fired and natural gas-fired power plants in organized markets.
“FERC has allowed the markets to fall prey to the price distorting and warping effects of subsidies and public policies that have driven the advancement of large quantities of intermittent renewable resources onto the electric system,” he said.“,
Put that person in charge.
Better start setting aside compensation for crime victims in the coming blackouts.
I think it much more likely that they’ll subsidize the ‘perps’ rather than compensate their victims.