Wednesday, December 28, 2022

And Again with the Damn Grids ...

Jon Sanders at the American Institute for Economic Research:

There are only two ways to go: change the plan to destabilize the grid with politically favored renewables, or try to change people’s idea of normal grid operations.

There's a third way to go: Reduce reliance on "grids," period.

Naturally, Sanders throws out the "intermittency" argument against solar and wind. As I've pointed out elsewhere, that argument doesn't just go both ways, it favors household-level renewables over large centralized power plants and sprawling grids.

ALL energy sources are "intermittent":
Transformers blow. Drunk drivers, hurricanes, or ice storms take lines down or flood/freeze pumps. Trains full of coal derail. Pipelines leak.

When those problems occur, “intermittency” goes to “non-existence,” and “density” falls to zero, until they’re fixed, for every customer downstream of the problems.

If a squirrel chews through the wires connecting your solar panels to your internal home “grid,” your neighbor’s refrigerator doesn’t miss a beat.

As with everything, there's a cost-benefit analysis involved.

Maybe, for example, home (or neighborhood) solar or wind with ample battery storage (for cloudy or windless days) is more expensive per installed kilowatt-hour than is centrally-generated, grid-distributed coal, gas, hydro, or nuclear.

On the other hand, less centralization of power generation delivering to many usage nodes via a grid means that fewer people are affected when there's a problem at the generation or grid level.

Do you prefer cheaper power, or do you prefer to have your lights on even when there's a problem elsewhere (and for your neighbor to have his lights on even if yours are out)?

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