Thanks to the Greeley Tribune (CO) and the Arizona Capitol Times (AZ) for carrying my new op-ed in which I argue that coal and nuclear power are necessary for grid reliability during periods of uncooperative weather.
Many thanks to the Alaska Journal of Commerce (AK), Casper Star Tribune (WY), Memphis Commercial Appeal (TN), Logan Daily News (OH), Somerset Daily American (PA) and The Tennessean (TN) for carrying my op-ed on the effects of the Polar Vortex on the electric grid and the importance of coal for power generation to keep the lights on.
Thanks to the Pottstown Mercury (PA), Exton Daily Local (PA), Swarthmore Times Herald (PA), Lansdale Reporter (PA), Delaware County Daily Times (PA), Phoenixville News (PA), Mainline Media News (PA), Elkhart Truth (IN) and Roanoke Times (VA) for carrying my new op-ed on the necessity of coal generation during extreme weather conditions, like the current Polar Vortex gripping the country.
Three regional grid operators–Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), Southwest Power Pool (SPP) and Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), have instituted rolling blackouts due to insufficient power generation. For SPP, this is the first load shedding event in its long history. For MISO, this is the second such event in 16 months (the first was due to the Hurricane Laura disaster). The reason for the energy insufficiency is simple–coal plants in this country were retired prematurely as utilities scrambled to jump on the “clean energy” bandwagon. Now, we can expect rolling blackouts to become the norm. Welcome to the future!
In the news today…
- The Guardian reports a new study warns that steps must be taken to avoid damage to wildlife habitat from mining materials needed for clean energy technology.
- In Real Clear Energy, former FERC Commissioner Tony Clark discusses the problem of California’s rolling blackouts and offers a warning for the rest of the country.
- WOSU Radio reports that in Ohio, Democratic lawmakers push for a swift repeal the state’s power plant bailout law, while Republican leaders say they want to avoid being “hasty and reckless.”
- Cleveland.com reports State Rep. Larry Householder returns to the state House chamber for the first time since being charged with overseeing a bribery scandal involving the power plant bailout law, saying he will plead not guilty and that the law is “good legislation.”
- Bismarck Tribune reports North Dakota utility officials discussed challenges with financing carbon capture projects during a visit by U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette.
Thanks to the Jackson Clarion Ledger (MS) for carrying my new op-ed on how California’s “rolling blackouts” and high energy prices serve as a warning to the rest of the country as we continue to retire traditional baseload electricity generation in favor of increased renewables.
KCRA reports that more than 270,000 California residents experienced a second round of rolling blackouts on Saturday.
California ISO declared a Stage 3 Electrical Emergency around 6:28 p.m. due to increased demand, as well as the loss of a 470-megawatt power plant. They also cite the loss of nearly 1,000 megawatts of wind power.
Update (with comment by Terry): When you retire increasing amounts of traditional thermal generation (i.e., coal) and increase usage of renewables, things start to get volatile. Welcome to the new normal.
Thanks to the Duluth News Tribune for carrying my op-ed on how the coronavirus pandemic and rising summer temperatures have exacerbated electricity prices, and coal and nuclear generation are key to keeping prices affordable.
Utility Dive reports that in a 3-1 decision, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday approved a proposal by the New England Independent System Operator (ISO-NE) to boost compensation for fuel resources during winter months, finding it a “reasonable short-term solution to compensating, in a technology-neutral manner, resources that provide fuel security.”
The Inventoried Energy Program would run during the winters of 2023/2024 and 2024/2025, and would be open to oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear, biomass, demand response and some hydro resources. ISO-NE estimated the program will cost between $102 million and $148 million per year.
The Utility Dive report focuses primarily on the lone dissent from Commissioner Glick, rather than the details of the actual order approved by 3 Commissioners.
Utility Dive reports that as states relax COVID-19 limits and temperatures warm, grid operators are now seeing electricity demand rise after a significant drop this spring, leading to concerns about their ability to keep the lights on — and how outages could impact vulnerable populations.
In the news today…
- Wyoming Public Media reports DHS explicitly extended essential status to the coal industry over the weekend.
- Politico Pro reports a dozen Republican senators have called on Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to suspend or reduce federal royalty payments for oil, gas and coal production.
- Times West Virginian carries a letter which argues that, while coal is essential in the long term, mines should close since the mines are prime targets for the coronavirus.
- WKU reports Paringa Resources CEO has resigned.
- Quartz reports the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating the demise of coal.
- The Casper Star Tribune reports a newly approved mine expansion will bring jobs and coal well into 2031.
- E&E Energywire reports many energy trade groups are nervous about weathering the novel coronavirus pandemic as fundraising events are cancelled and members’ cash dwindles.
Inside Sources reports on the importance of grid operators taking measures to ensure reliability of the electric grid.
Wired reports that utilities and grid operators are well-prepared to handle the pandemic, but a second wave of the virus later this year could be disastrous.
Reuters reports the U.S. electric industry may request that essential staff members live on-site at their facilities if the coronavirus pandemic worsens, according to industry trade groups and electric cooperatives. Staff at power plants and control centers have been stockpiling beds, blankets and food in preparation for the potential plan.
The Daily Energy Insider carries an article on the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC) fifth grid security exercise known as GridEx on Nov. 13 and 14, an event that allows utilities to test how they would respond to and recover from simulated coordinated cyber and physical threats to the electric grid.
The article mentions my recent op-ed on the threats to the U.S. power grid.
GridEx is a very important exercise for utilities, and goes a long way toward providing protection to the grid.
Thanks to the Memphis Commercial Appeal (TN) for carrying my new op-ed where I discuss that the United States is slowly dismantling its baseload power plants and replacing them with less reliable alternatives, causing electricity price spikes and creating outage issues.