Rolling Blackouts On the Way

In the recent past, California and Texas have suffered blackouts due to inadequate electricity supply. This year, as the summer heats up, it is the midwestern states served by the Midcontinent Independent Systems Operator (MISO) that are most likely to see their lights go out. Energy expert Isaac Orr explains:

According to [the North American Electric Reliability Corporation], much of the country is at an elevated risk of not having enough electricity to meet peak demand, plus the margin of safety, this summer, but none are at higher risk than MISO.

Why are blackouts suddenly occurring after many decades of reliable energy? Because of profiteering by “green” energy hucksters.

MISO may simply not have enough reliable power plants on the grid this summer after 3,200 megawatts (MW) of reliable power plants, mostly coal and nuclear, retired last year.

This is a scandal. “Green” energy liberals have demanded, successfully, that reliable coal and nuclear plants be closed so they can be replaced by wind farms and solar installations. But those unreliable, intermittent sources can never replace power plants that actually work 24/7. Hence the blackouts that are now beginning, and will become more and more widespread if we continue to rely increasingly on undependable sources of power.

Because of “green” demands that reliable power plants be shuttered, the Midwest now lacks enough reliable electricity to cover peak demand:

MISO says there is a 1,230 MW shortfall in power plant capacity to meet its peak demand and reserve margin, an amount that could power nearly half of the homes in Minnesota on an average hourly basis.

Liberals know there are blackouts coming, so what is their solution? Since wind and solar can’t meet peak demand, reduce demand! Much as the Biden administration is reducing demand for gasoline by driving prices over $5 per gallon.

This shortage of reliable power plant capacity means system operators in MISO are more likely to need operating mitigations, such as load modifying resources (LMRs) or non-firm imports, to meet reserve requirements under normal peak summer conditions. Each of these “operating mitigations” comes with its own costs.

Under more extreme circumstances, such as warmer temperatures, higher generation outages, or low wind conditions, areas of the MISO North and Central regions will face a higher risk of temporary “operator-initiated load shedding” to maintain system reliability. This is grid operator speak for rolling blackouts.

In all likelihood, the Midwest will see its first blackouts this summer. If not, just wait. If the situation is not yet dire, it is only because the greenies have not yet realized their goal of overwhelming reliance on energy sources that, most of the time, don’t work:

Unfortunately, the reliability of the electric grid could get worse in the coming years as more reliable power plants are retired.

MISO’s capacity shortfall is projected to grow to 2,600 MW by 2023, enough to power virtually every home in Minnesota on an average hour, and capacity deficits are projected to widen in subsequent years.

The graph below shows the capacity shortfall growing from 2,600 MW next year to 10,900 MW by 2027 as the green bars sink lower toward the x-axis. For context, 10,900 MW is more than the amount needed to generate Minnesota’s annual electricity on an average hourly basis. Of course, some hours will have much higher demand, and some hours demand will be lower, but the trend is troubling regardless.

As the greenies retire more and more reliable power plants and replace them with wind and solar installations that don’t produce electricity most of the time, the cost of massive redundancy to try to keep the lights on will increase exponentially. This summer we will probably see the first tremors of grid inadequacy caused by reliance on “green” energy. In future years, if environmentalists and the Democratic Party continue to get their way, we will see the earthquake: a future in which America, like a third-world country, will be a place where electricity is available only intermittently and only to a favored few, based on political allegiance.

Already, liberals are talking about a future in which you don’t control your use of electricity. Rather, a utility does. Thus, when “renewable” energy sources don’t produce enough to meet demand, the response will be “demand management.” That may mean, among other things, that you won’t be able to turn on your own air conditioning. Rather, the utility will control the temperature of your home for you. This is a classic liberal solution to a problem that liberals created: it totally fails to mitigate the disaster that liberal policies have caused, but serves the more important purpose of allowing liberals to use access to electricity to reward their friends and punish their enemies.

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