“Solar, wind power need to be considered” by J. C. Dufresne on Friday, Sept. 6 was interesting, but naive. You can’t power Texas with statistics, but Dufresne tried.
“Wind has generated 22% of Texas’ electrical needs this year,…” is misleading. What he didn’t mention was that at times, the percentage provided by wind power was much higher and at other times, it was almost nothing.
Wind and solar production is unreliable and intermittent. Sometimes they are producing so much electricity that they can’t give it away; at other times, so little that prices skyrocket. The electricity they produce, when they produce it, is cheap. Reliable electricity producers, who must have their equipment running despite producing very little, have to make their profits from less billable time, so the overall impact is higher electricity prices; often much higher. In Denmark, Germany and Australia, electricity prices have skyrocketed with the expansion of wind and solar.
Dufresne disparages coal, gas and nuclear generated electricity, but if it wasn’t for fracking and cheap gas, the current growth in wind and solar would not have occurred. Coal and nuclear power stations take time to power up and down and can’t cope with the rapid fluctuations in wind and solar output. Gas powered generators are more flexible.
Dufresne concedes that, “…solar and wind energy production mostly occur at different times a day…” and even then are incapable of providing a reliable and uninterrupted power supply.
Remember those summer days when ERCOT issued statements asking consumers to switch off unnecessary electrical consumption. That wasn’t the fault of coal, gas or nuclear power stations; they were likely running at 100% output.
The problem was that winds were light and the sun was setting. A massive increase in solar and wind facilities on those days would still see output close to zero. Seguin industry, residents, hospitalization and retail operations are dependent on reliable, low cost electricity supplies 100% of the time.
Blackouts and brownouts of any length of time associated with light winds and insufficient sunlight will be enormously disruptive and expensive.
Anthony Stephenson, Seguin