Tux Turkel: Cold snap tested reliability of region’s power grid and arguments against fossil fuels

Note that this article glosses over extremely expensive capacity payments associated with wind and solar, as well as their tremendous transmission and taxpayer expenses.

Solar panels were covered with snow and wind turbines were buffeted by storms......“We were definitely on the brink,” said Matt Kakley, an ISO-NE spokesman. “Had the cold snap continued longer or had there been further outages in the region, it was definitely possible that (rolling blackouts) could have happened.”.................But even the specter that operators might need to selectively switch off power to save the grid is proof to large electricity users in Maine that it’s past time to increase natural gas pipeline capacity in the region................In other instances, the region’s growing fleet of wind and solar energy generators might have been able to help. But data gathered by ISO-NE found that snow and clouds during the period limited solar output to a small fraction of its potential. Generation from wind farms, too, was variable in the fast-changing weather conditions. At times, wind farms also were unable to feed power to the grid because of transmission-line congestion..........................“The biggest issue going forward,” he said, “is whether those facilities will remain viable as policymakers look to carve out larger and larger pieces of the market for favored resources, which may not provide the same reliability as the plants they drive out of the market.”

https://www.pressherald.com/2018/05/20/cold-snap-tested-reliability...

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Comment by Eskutassis on May 21, 2018 at 8:40am

OK. A few things that have NOT been mentioned at all in this article. While the wind and solar people talk about their contribution being "competitive" with fossil fuels, especially piped in gas, they neglect to tell you anything about the subsidies they get from the GOVERNMENT (taxes) to make them "competitive." Sure they talk about the fact that fossil fuels get subsidies, but based on the output of fossil fuels vs "renewable" the product that goes out to the consumer is three or four times the cost when renewables are thrown in. Without reliable amounts of natural gas, the gas price SKYROCKETS when in short supply. This comes from something in economics they don't teach anymore, Friedman Economics - - - SUPPLY and DEMAND. There is all the gas needed within a couple of hundred miles of us from North or South.

Mass went ahead and IMPORTED LNG FROM RUSSIA at a ridiculous price. WHY??? They had to or the lights would have been out. Wind and solar were all but shut down. And heat for our houses, don't know whether you noticed, but my rates were about DOUBLE what my budget plan estimated.

LET'S BUILD THAT PIPELINE!!!! LET'S FORGET ABOUT WIND AND SOLAR! Let's ban NRCM, RGGI, Wind Goals, Solar Incentives, Efficiency Maine Trust, and other renewable funded organizations from making decisions we the consumer should be making. To date we have not let the consumer have any say as to what they want. The decision should be between cheap, reliable plentiful electricity or power that might cost two or three times as much and be open to giving you blackouts or brownouts. Milton Friedman - - - supply and demand. That's Capitalism, not socialism.

Comment by Dan McKay on May 21, 2018 at 5:26am

The real culprit is the New England State Legislators who devised a system straight out of CLF and NRCM playbooks, followed by corporate favoritism straight out of their checkbooks. Clean house in November.

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Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT (excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010  http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?"  http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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