Thursday, October 02, 2008
Lights Out in 2009?
Among its other findings were these:
The U.S. will require more than 14,500 miles of new electricity transmission lines by 2016. Regions represented by the Florida Reliability Coordination Council (FRCC) and the Northeast Power Coordinating Council (NPCC) may require less than 400 miles of new transmission lines, while the Southeast Reliability Council (SERC) may require nearly 2,300 miles. The Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) may require nearly 7,000 miles.
Substantial increases in wind turbine orders, and new wind capacity, has been slowed by a worldwide turbine shortage and local opposition to wind projects. Since wind generation is expected to grow substantially throughout the U.S., the integration of intermittent resources into the bulk power system is becoming increasingly complex and difficult.
While renewable energy proponents, and some elected officials, are saying that the U.S. needs to only add renewable power facilities such as wind farms, the annual capacity factor of wind generators is typically about 25 - 35 percent. However, the probability that wind generators are available at their rated value during annual peak periods is only between 5 - 20 percent and varies greatly from year to year and region to region. Wind cannot be considered a reliable baseload capacity resource.
Rapidly increasing demand for steel and copper has caused spot scarcity of the resources required to manufacture key electrical components, and this commodity demand has increased the theft of critical system components. Manufacturers have attempted to eliminate excess inventories and capacity to increase productivity of their assets, but they are reluctant to add more capacity until they can be certain about future industry investments.
The study also presented a survey of political developments and trends that amount to "structural political barriers being erected to system reliability." It pointed to the fact that "environmental activist groups" are now:
Suing to block the construction of virtually every single baseload coal-fired power plant, in spite of advanced environmental technologies these plants would deploy.
Gearing up to block construction of any baseload nuclear power plants across the West.
Suing or protesting virtually every proposed lease on public lands in the Rocky Mountains for natural gas drilling.
Working to slow or stop the completion of the two main multi-year, stakeholder-based transmission corridor processes that both Democrats and Republicans in Congress approved as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
Pushing for additional endangered species designations, which will make siting and construction of both power plants and transmission lines difficult.
Pressuring government leaders to limit access by larger, baseload technologies to the region's high-voltage transmission grid and, instead proposing to artificially favor non-baseload, intermittent power facilities that will (at some point) further stress the reliability of the entire Western grid.
I know the suits to block every single natural gas drilling lease is true (even rigs in the middle of dozens of completed wells), so that makes it easier to believe the rest.
Hot, over-taxed, in the dark, with gasoline at $5.00 per gallon. Welcome to America under new Democrat leadership.