Dave Solomon of the Union-Leader wrote about the fact that negative pricing for electricity is starting to be seen in New Hampshire during low power-usage times, part of a trend caused in part by renewables (especially solar and wind):
A 2014 change in the energy market rules, called the Energy Market Offer Flexibility Project, makes “negative pricing offers” possible, although only the biggest customers can take advantage of the option. “Some of the region’s largest wholesale energy users were paid to use electricity because the cost of generating it was negative,” Fromouth said. “So instead of paying for the electricity that they consumed, businesses received a credit for what they used, thanks to a program of buying energy directly from the wholesale market.”
This is a reflection of changes happening all over the country to the heavily regulated area of regulated electricity production and transmission. Utilities used to be really boring; now they’re confusingly interesting.
The weakness of this one is, if you have a generator that can provide power when required, and it now provides this only 50% of the time, it becomes uneconomic and gets shut down. Then, when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow, you have a blackout.