Experts Say Upgrading U.S. Power Grid “could cost $2 trillion between now and the year 2050”; More Rolling Blackouts Expected


    by B.N. Frank, Activist Post:

    Electric vehicles (EVs) have been associated with threatening power grids (see 12), fires (see 123456789), health and environmental issues (see 1234, 5, 67), and high costs (see 1234).  Of course, according to experts, EV mandates aren’t the only thing threatening American power grids. Utility grid operators have been warning that the rush to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources is threatening power grids as well.  More of the same was recently reported by “Full Measure”:

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    Power Problems

    By Full Measure Staff

    America’s push to move faster to green energy is compounding stress on the current system and creating a new brand of energy crisis in the U.S. Scott Thuman reports on the growing power problem.

    Late July in the northern tip of Michigan, the sun-fed harvest from these trees helps make this the self-declared cherry capital of the world. But before the fruit can be processed down these lines, it needs to be kept cold — very cold — requiring a lot of electricity. Some created at this on-site solar farm, much more coming down these transmission lines.

    Having reliable power is vital for the crop, and it’s what keeps Rachel Johnson, a member relations manager at the aptly-named Cherryland Electric Cooperative, awake at night.

    Scott: Talk to me about supply and demand these days.

    Rachel Johnson: The way I like to explain to our members is to think of the energy grid as a bathtub, and essentially we’re filling that bathtub with a low-flow faucet, and at the same time, we’ve pulled the drain on the bottom. So we are putting resources into the tub at a slower rate than we’re draining resources out of the tub, and then to make matters worse, the tub is getting bigger because we’re electrifying everything. So things like electric vehicles and just our increasingly electric-dependent lives are increasing the demand for electricity, and we are just not putting new power supply on the grid at the rate at which we’re taking it off the grid.

    So urgent a problem that all summer, much of this area was considered at risk of so-called rolling blackouts — targeted, deliberate power outages in certain areas.

    A couple of hours away from the cherry factory is the Alpine Power Plant, one of the newest, cleanest, and most efficient in the region, where giant jet turbines are fed by natural gas.

    Scott: This is a real workhorse. A system like this one can provide power for about 100,000 customers. The problem, some say, is there just aren’t enough of these out there.

    Eric Baker runs the Wolverine Power Cooperative, operating this power station and several others across northern Michigan.

    Scott: Do you think Americans should expect more blackouts?

    Eric Baker: Yes.

    Scott: Does that scare you?

    Eric Baker: Yeah, it does, and it almost offends me. I’m a career utility planner. This is what I’ve grown up doing, in this industry for 30-some years is, in some way, planning for transmission or generation to bring reliable and affordable power to our rural customers. And so yeah, it bothers me a great deal.

    What bothers Baker and many others in the power-generation business is switching off older coal and nuclear plants, like this one in southwest Michigan, that closed earlier this year. They say it’s leaving a power gap that renewables can’t yet fill.

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