"The Coming Crisis in Electricity Generation," posted today on the energybiz.com website, is an excellent outline of how decentralized, unpredictable, and unstable renewal, or "green," technologies, will destroy more than 100 years of reliable U.S. electricity generation and distribution systems. The author, Davis Swan, president of Debarel Systems Ltd, explains that an electricity grid functions within a delicate balance of generation and demand, since electricity cannot be stored, but must be delivered in real time.
Baseload power plants operate 24/7 to meet basic electricity requirements (coal, nuclear, hydroelectric), and smaller units, usually natural gas-fired, are used for short periods of time, to meet peak demand, since demand fluctuates with time of day, weather, etc. The economy of the large, 500-1,000MW baseload plants (which have made electricity affordable) lies in their size and constant output. The economy of these plants has become increasingly eroded, however, as they sit idle, when mandated and grossly expensive "renewable" sources are used. This has made it very difficult to get financing to build new power plants. As a result, and at the same time that environmental regulations are mandating that older coal plants be shut down, reserve capacity, needed to meet any unexpected loss of generating plants, is disappearing. Texas has already been warned by regulators that it is headed for blackouts. The rest of the nationally interconnected grid will soon face similar catastrophes.
The Wall Street-directed deregulation of the electric utilities, starting in the mid-1990s, turned an industry that is the foundation for our necessary standard of living, into (in Enron and other cases) a sinister game, where fleecing customers for a profit replaced Franklin Roosevelt's policy to regulate the utilities, in order to provide universal, reliable electric power.
Remarkably, Swan notes, until recently, the intricate U.S. grid system worked so well, the overwhelming cause for the disruption of power delivery in the U.S. was unavoidable severe weather. Now, a system that has been the envy of the world, but severely undercapitalized and under attack by pseudo-scientific "environmental" regulations for two decades, is under physical attack from unreliable and disruptive small-scale "green" projects. These projects, like ethanol in gasoline, have been mandated by the federal and some state governments, that use tax dollars to subsidize this sabotage. If people are concerned about the effect of supposed changes in the "environment" on their standard of living, they should ask victims of hurricane Sandy what it is like to live without electricity.