Posts Tagged ‘electricity grid’

Cheap Renewable Energy is Here. Why Doesn’t The Grid Plan For It?

Wind farms and solar arrays are setting new records for low energy prices, with wind under 2 ½ cents and solar under 4 cents when conditions are right. These are cheap prices, given electricity from new natural gas plants is in the 5-7 cents range, coal at 6-10 cents, and nuclear somewhere between 13 and 15 cents, according to one fleet owner (nuclear can be unpredictable). So why aren’t more electric grid operators incorporating this energy as they plan to meet grid needs? Read More

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Final Clean Power Plan Takes Key Steps to Ensure Reliable Electricity. Now What?

In the past year, utility organizations went to the microphones to call out the EPA for making the draft Clean Power Plan without adequate time or attention on grid reliability. There were numerous reports prepared by utility planners raising alarms about insufficient time to plan for a cleaner power supply, while others showed no technical obstacles to raising the mix to 30-40% renewable energy. Read More

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Power Outages, Extreme Weather, and Climate Change: How Smart Energy Choices Will Help Keep the Lights On

Our nation’s aging electricity system is increasingly vulnerable to extreme weather events — including flooding, extreme heat, drought, and wildfires — which often cause power outages. Today UCS released a new report called Power Failure, which describes how extreme weather events are likely to increase in the future as global temperatures continue to rise, with major consequences for the electricity sector. Read More

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A Difficult Conversation: How to Prevent Power Outages in Coastal Communities

When we talk about the electricity supply in this country, we confront a generational transition. As coastal communities repair and improve their electric grids to better face rising waters and powerful storms, they are caught in a realization: We are using the same gear our grandfathers used to keep the lights on. It is time to recognize how new things like solar panels, smart meters, and heating and cooling improvements can contribute to the grid in times of stress, and every other day. It is time for the 21st century to reconsider the 19th century design of the centralized, one-way grid. Read More

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“Not A Good Day in the Neighborhood” — Electricity Grid Progress since the August 2003 Blackout

Electricity grid operators knew hours before the 4 p.m., August 14, 2003 Northeast power failure that things were going badly. One called his wife, predicting accurately that he would have to work late, and another complained it was “not a good day in the neighborhood.”

The largest blackout in North America left 50 million people without power and largely without communications, but some engineers knew that the blackout could have been prevented. Part two of a two-part series on the Northeast Blackout of 2003. Read More

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13 of the Largest Power Outages in History — and What They Tell Us About the 2003 Northeast Blackout

What gets the most attention is not what causes blackouts in North America and Europe. It’s the system, not a shortage of power plants that is the problem. Take a look at the 13 major power outages over many years, and see that the problems we face are not because we aren’t building enough power plants. Part one of a two-part series on the Northeast Blackout of 2003. Read More

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Charging Electric Cars from the Grid: A Good Choice – or the Best Choice for Lowering Global Warming Emissions?

Electric vehicles, hailed by some as the greenest cars on the planet, have also been dismissed by others as an expensive way to do little more than move vehicle emissions from the tailpipe to a smokestack. So who’s got it right? My colleague, Amine Mahmassani, who works in the Clean Vehicles program at UCS recently co-authored a new report on electric vehicles which clears the air on the issue. I interviewed Amine to see what I could learn about global warming emissions from charging vehicles on the electricity grid. Read More

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