Thursday, February 28, 2008

Low wind and cold weather causes electricity shortage in Texas

Reuters reports that on Tuesday night a combination of low wind conditions and cold weather, which boosted demand at a peak time in the early evening caused a shortage in electricity available to the Texas grid.
ERCOT immediately cut off supply of 1100 MW to its interruptible customers ( industries, who the utilities can cut power to in an emergency).
ERCOT reports that wind power quickly dropped from 2300 mw of generation to less than 300 mw, leading to the crisis.  
This is interesting because it is the first grid (near) failure I have read about due to alternative energy.  It is also a powerful reminder that though wind power may be trendy at the moment, it is intermittent and can never be counted on to supply our base load.

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