EPA and the Grid
Via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
I wish to add some perspective to the May 5 letter “The EPA’s Plan Doesn’t Threaten Electrical Service.” The claim this title makes is patently false.
PJM Interconnection is the electric grid operator for Pennsylvania and several surrounding states. The vast majority of baseload generation units in the PJM footprint are either nuclear or use coal as a fuel source. Due to a generous federal subsidy for renewable generation, EPA regulations that make coal units prohibitively expensive to operate, and an annual wholesale electric power auction structure that intentionally does not value generator availability during fuel source interruption, more than 50 percent of all PJM merchant baseload generators are not expected to be able to cover their costs to operate in the coming years. This is problematic, since baseload generation — vital to maintaining the reliability of the electric grid — cannot be quickly or easily replaced with gas or renewables. Thus, the claim made in the headline of the May 5 letter is not true.
It is important to note that coal and nuclear generators have on-site fuel storage, which makes them immune to short-term fuel interruptions, unlike gas-fired generators.
Renewables such as wind and solar are highly impacted by unpredictable weather and thus cannot be reliably held to a voltage schedule, which is essential for maintaining grid stability. Thus they are not viable baseload technologies.
The discussion of electric grid operation today is sadly dominated by too many folks who have little knowledge of such.
See the article here.
- On May 19, 2015