Grid integration of renewable energy, especially wind energy, is a controversial topic–and has been for nearly three decades. Frankly, I think the subject has been beaten to death and for my part the questions answered many times over. Nevertheless, those opposed to renewable energy continually raise the subject in the hopes that this is some silver bullet that will put wind and solar energy in its grave. As a consequence, renewable energy advocates ask me for help to rebut the common myths about wind energy’s “unreliability”. For this reason, I occasionally post articles or reports on the topic of grid integration.
Citing a market participant, Jenkins noted on Twitter that roughly 26 gigawatts of thermal energy is offline because natural gas is being diverted to provide heat instead of power. Only about 4 gigawatts of wind is offline because of icing, Jenkins noted.
Contrary to the ideas promulgated by some opponents of wind generation, most of the substantial investment in wind farms in South Australia is not being paid for by taxpayers or electricity consumers in South Australia, but was and is being built under the nationwide Large Renewable Energy Target.
At the heart of the problem has been governments’ trust in market solutions without a sharp eye on the shortfalls in market performance and without adequate leadership on the long term outcome the market should be tasked to achieve.
Sara Hastings-simon, Binnu Jeyakumar
It is a meaningless concept at the least and dangerous at its worst. The term “baseload” was coined over a hundred years ago. When the electricity grid was first built, large, inflexible fossil fuel generators dominated and played a critical role in the Industrial Revolution. But much like many other aging technologies and approaches, baseload generation is no longer the best tool for the job.
Joshua D. Rhodes
So, are wind and solar killing coal and nuclear? Yes, but not by themselves and not for the reasons most people think. Are wind and solar killing grid reliability? No, not where the grid’s technology and regulations have been modernized. In those places, overall grid operation has improved, not worsened.