I See Electromagnetic Fields!
- Mar 28, 2020
And grid management isn't just about supply, there is smart demand management as well.
This is practically the most important. It is so large scale and easy to deploy.
Many distributed loads with low-level control signals already available (especially A/C systems) Those can disconnect instantly at any time. In the case of A/C and refrigeration, it can come back online on request, after a delay. Water pumping into holding tanks can also be controlled. Lighting can be dimmed. With a bit more invasive control, computers can vary their power consumption by slowing performance.
To the extent loads can be controlled to use available power, cost per kWh goes down. The grid becomes more resilient.
During times of major production loss (power plant failure), turning off A/C and keeping it off would be preferable to shutting down the grid.
In California, a new law requires rooftop solar on all new homes (or sharing in community arrays). Of course, rooftop costs more per kW, like 2x or 3x what large scale does, so we only get 1/2 or 1/3 as much production for our money.
Natural gas hookups are prohibited for new homes, must use electric heat.
If engineers not bureaucrats made the decisions, we would connect natural gas and have hybrid gas/electric heating appliances. Then they could be commanded to switch energy source for grid resiliency and support a higher percentage of renewable utilization. (Similarly, hybrid cars enable a higher percentage electric miles driven compared to a fleet of electric-only cars plus ICE-only cars.)