“In the next decade or so, New England’s power grid is on course to becoming a hybrid grid where up to 20% of the power system’s resources are made up of smaller power resources connected directly to retail customers or to local distribution utilities—and not the transmission system.”
That’s one of the conclusions from ISO-New England, the folks who run the six-state electric power grid, in its 2016 Regional Energy Outlook. It includes lots of interesting tidbits about the fast-changing industry of providing electrons, such as:
- “Overall regional air emissions are down significantly. Between 1999 and 2014, nitrogen oxides fell by 66%, sulfur dioxide by 94%, and carbon dioxide by 26%.”
- “The weather-dependent output from wind and solar resources and the increase in DG adds complexity to how the ISO must operate the power system to maintain reliability.”
- “A third of the approximately 13,000 megawatts (MW) of proposed generation projects are wind resources. Delivering that wind power from remote locations to consumers in load centers will require major transmission system upgrades and additions” (and we know how much people like big power lines being built nearby). This is reflected in illustration with this post.
Not surprising. The business/technical model of centrally produced, and then distributed over a huge grid, is dying. It worked fine for the first hundred years. We are no longer limited, in the greater sense. I’ll let you ponder that last sentence.
You’re right, but transition periods are always painful, and we are entering one. The hard part is how do we change things without the current system collapsing.
I’ve lived in places that didn’t have a reliable power grid and it really sucks – I’d rather not go through that here waiting for the distributed generation business to mature.
David Brooks – nice to hear your reasonable comment on grid stability. Too many renewable energy advocates think that solar and wind are in a position to fully displace fossil fuels and nuclear today, which as you probably know they aren’t, at least not without putting the regional grids at a high level of risk. I’m all for renewables, but most reasonable and well educated folks understand that it will be decades before renewables can reliably supply more than 50% of the electric supply due primarily to lack of grid stability and lack of affordable grid scale storage.