Category Archives: Electric Grid

Concentrated Solar Power is dying out in the U.S.

Preface.  Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) contributes only 0.06 % of U.S. electricity, mainly in California (64 %) and Arizona (24 %) because extremely dry areas with no humidity, haze, or pollutants are required. Of the 1861 MW power they can … Continue reading

Posted in Concentrated Solar Power, CSP with thermal energy storage, Grid instability, Seasonal Variation | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Building a national super grid in America

Preface. Renewables are not evenly distributed.  Just 10 states have 80% of hydropower (Homeland Security 2011), 10 states produce 75% of wind power (EIA 2017), and 10 states produce 79% of solar power (CE 2020). With a national grid, instead … Continue reading

Posted in Blackouts, Electric Grid, Electric Grid, Electricity, National Super Grid, Solar, Vaclav Smil, Wind | 3 Comments

A nationwide blackout lasting 1 year could kill up to 90% Americans

Preface. What follows is the testimony of Dr. Pry at a 2015 U.S. House of Representatives session. I have cut, shortened, and rearranged the order of the 30 page original document.  The electric grid is coming down one way or … Continue reading

Posted in Blackouts, Congressional Record U.S., Electricity, EMP Electromagnetic Pulse, Energy Policy, Extreme Weather, Infrastructure, Nuclear, Nuclear Power | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Generating electricity with biomass at utility-scale in California limited to direct combustion in small 50 MW plants

Preface. It’s obviously much easier and more energy efficient to set logs on fire for heat and electricity than to turn them into ethanol.   Burning biomass can’t do much to solve our energy crisis.  To produce just 10% of … Continue reading

Posted in Biomass, Electric Grid | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Challenges to making California’s grid renewable

What follows is a report from the California Energy Commission. But in less bureaucratic language, this may summarize it better (Petersen 2019): “I’ve always been amazed at a strange mental disconnect that’s common among renewable power advocates. On one hand, … Continue reading

Posted in Grid instability | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Black starting the grid after a power outage

Black starts Large blackouts can be quite devastating and it isn’t easy to restart the electric grid again. This is typically done by designated black start units of natural gas, coal, hydro, or nuclear power plants that can restart themselves … Continue reading

Posted in Grid instability | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Utility scale energy storage has a long way to go to make renewables possible

What follows comes from my book “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation” , which is also where you’ll find the references backing up what I’ve written below. I often get letters from people about energy breakthroughs … Continue reading

Posted in Alternative Energy, Batteries, Battery - Utility Scale, Critical Thinking, Electric Grid, Electricity, Renewable Integration | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Challenges to the Integration of Renewable Resources at High System Penetration

Preface.  This overview of challenges for wind and solar written in 2010 is still true today. We are far from being able to reach even a 50% renewable grid (excluding hydropower from the total) given the lack of storage, the … Continue reading

Posted in Electric Grid, Solar, Wind | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Challenges to the Integration of Renewable Resources at High System Penetration

Robert Rapier: Oil demand is growing, not shrinking. There is no peak oil demand in sight.

[ Yes, this article was published 10 months ago, but with all the attention to fake news today, I thought it would be worthwhile pointing out that peak demand is propaganda, not based on facts. Since the goal of fake … Continue reading

Posted in Dependence on Oil, Electric Cars, Other Experts, Peak Oil, Transportation | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Can the lights be kept on with distributed generation? 2015 U.S. House hearing on a reliable electric system

[ Corporate speakers testify – could they have any self-interest, hope for government grants?  Since Congress often asks the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to write unbiased papers on topics,  why didn’t NAS and National Laboratory scientists speak? Corporations are … Continue reading

Posted in Congressional Record U.S., Distributed Generation, Grid instability | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Can the lights be kept on with distributed generation? 2015 U.S. House hearing on a reliable electric system