For infrastructure as critical to civilizational survival as our power grids are, pushing a renewables-only policy ignores a critical danger.
Systemic redundancies are the protection against the real risk of single points of failure.
Texans saw the importance of systemic redundancies in the winter storm that caused multiple sytems that had not been properly winterized to freeze, including a frozen feedwater pump on a nuclear reactor, frozen gas wells, and wind turbines that stopped spinning.
These all came back to engineering problems that had not anticipated Texans to experience the kind of weather that would produce such hazards. They took a gamble thinking it was a needless expense, and came up snake eyes.
These things happen in a world that is forced to weight such cost/benefit analysis all the time.
But the Texas heat wave rendering wind power inoperable is not an engineering problem. It’s an energy source problem.
Windmills will only generate power when there is a wind to turn it. Weather like what Texans are dealing with right now has no wind. Unfortunately, weather like what Texans are dealing with now also leads to enormous energy demand.
A scorching heat wave is pushing the Texas grid to the brink. Power demand is surging as people crank up air conditioners. But meanwhile, wind speeds have fallen to extremely low levels, and that means the state’s fleet of turbines is at just 8% of their potential output.
…Depressed wind power during heat waves isn’t a new phenomenon. Powerful high-pressure systems that cause intense heat often squelch wind production — just when more power is needed to meet higher electricity demand. The mass of air overhead stifles wind near the surface, until the mass moves elsewhere.
Right now, one of those high-pressure systems is sitting directly over the Lone Star State. —DallasMorningNews
The article went out of its way to sing the praises of renewables despite this failure, while taking a swipe at other sources, but it’s hard to ignore the phrase ‘just 8% of their potential output‘ when so many people depend on electricity not just for A/C and refrigeration, but for their entire livelihoods as well.
Do whatever you’re going to do with wind and solar.
But even Europe has figured out that they can’t rely on that alone. How about we learn their lessons without having to make their mistakes first: LMAO: European Green Energy Vote Will Make Eco Zealots’ Heads Explode