Complete Story


The Grid Isn’t Ready for the Renewable Revolution

Two forces converge to push it to its breaking point

You can almost hear the electrical grid creaking and groaning under the weight of the future, as two forces converge to push it—often literally—to its breaking point.

One force is climate change, which can exacerbate disasters that take down parts of the grid, as Hurricane Ida did this summer, knocking New Orleans offline just as a heat wave settled in. Or extreme weather can suddenly spike the demand for energy just when the grid is least able to provide it, like during last winter's Texas freeze and subsequent power system failure.

The other force, ironically enough, is the massive deployment of renewable power—the best way to fight climate change and avoid these kinds of disasters. But this will demand a fundamental rethinking of how the grid operates. Gas and coal power plants generate continuous power by burning fuel, and how much they burn can be modulated based on the demand for electricity. But the generation of solar and wind energy fluctuates. The sun doesn't shine at night, and turbines don't turn without wind.

Please select this link to read the complete article from WIRED.

Printer-Friendly Version