Is It Possible Texas Has Too Much Renewable Energy?

Apr 7, 2016

Credit technologyreview.com

Sometimes the modern world presents you with problems you couldn’t have anticipated. Texas is facing one such dilemma. It seems, according to MIT Technology Review, that the Lone Star State has too much renewable energy. Or perhaps “too much too soon” is a better way to put it.

Wind and solar energy capacities have grown so quickly that they’ve left traditional power companies in a fix. When wind and solar companies are pumping out peak levels, these companies are finding it very difficult to shut off their fossil-fuel or nuclear plants, and then ramp them back up again once wind and solar energy droops.

The problem is causing companies in Texas to dip more and more frequently into negative territory. When that happens, utilities are forced to pay grid operators to take power off their hands. For example, last November and again in March, power at one major Texas hub traded below zero for almost 50 hours.

This happens frequently in Germany, too. But that country’s government subsidizes its power companies to offset the problem.