Texas Wind Power Emergency Highlights Danger of Too Much Reliance on Renewables

“This is a warning to all those who think that renewable energy is the sole answer.  We can’t put all our eggs in one basket when it comes to any form of generation. We need to consider the cost and the reliability issues, in addition to the environmental impact.”

— Geoffrey Gay, attorney for Fort Worth and other North Texas municipalities

Operators of the state power grid scrambled Tuesday night to keep the lights on after a sudden drop in West Texas wind threatened to cause rolling blackouts, officials confirmed Wednesday.

At about 6:41 p.m. Tuesday, grid operators ordered a shutoff of power to so-called interruptible customers, which are industrial electric users who have agreed previously to forgo power in times of crisis. The move ensured continued stability of the grid after power dropped unexpectedly.

Dottie Roark, a spokeswoman for the power grid, said a sudden uptick in electricity use coupled with other factors and a sudden drop in wind power caused the unexpected dip. As a result, grid officials immediately went to the second stage of its emergency blackout prevention plan.

“This situation means that there is a heightened risk of … regular customers being dropped through rotating outages, but that would occur only if further contingencies occur, and only as a last resort to avoid the risk of a complete blackout,” the State Operations Center said in an e-mail notice to municipalities.

Known as the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the quasi-governmental agency that manages the power grid must ensure that power generation and power use remain constantly in balance. Otherwise, the whole grid can go dark, and the result is a systemwide blackout.

According to ERCOT, those interruptible customers who lost power Tuesday night had it restored by 9:40 p.m.. The interruptible customers are generally industrial businesses that pay less for electricity in exchange for an agreement that they will let ERCOT cut their power during shortages.

Read the rest of the story at The Star-Telegram

2 Responses to Texas Wind Power Emergency Highlights Danger of Too Much Reliance on Renewables

  1. Tenpennies April 21, 2008 at 9:54 pm #

    I know that there is much debate about the validiaty behind wether or not there really is a global climate crises. I, myself, do not know the answer. But when it really comes down to it what is so wrong with wanting to improve our world through better fuel economy, cleaner air, cleaner water, reduced waste and finding a reusable energy source? Why spend all of this time and energy to fight something that is fundamentally a good thing? We should all want for these things whether we believe the earth is experiencing a climate crisses or not. Shouldn’t we all want to have a car that gets 60+ mpg and have ultra low emissions? Don’t we all want to hold factories accountable when they dump pollutants into our rivers and streams? How about finding a renewable energy source? Isn’t this in the best interest of everyone? My point is this, even if you may not believe the changes in the world are the result of man’s misdoings aren’t these changes what is good for everyone. These are things that we should want even if they have no effect on the earth. These are things that are good for our children and their children as well. I think it is time for the baby boomers to start thinking about someone other than themselves and do something that will help the generations to follow. Why after a 100 years of automotive innovations can we not build a car that gets better than 60 mpg? I think it is time to stop fighting the wrong battle. Instead of Global Climate Scam.com why not Global Climate Improvements.com??

  2. Bacnet November 4, 2009 at 5:57 am #

    Wind Power is one of the best alternative energy sources that we should utilize, it is very clean and non-polluting. I was able to built a small wind generator at home which can power small appliances.

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