Will the Murphy Energy Plan for New Jersey, with its heavy reliance on wind and solar energy, produce blackouts as recently occurred in Texas? The author of the attached article says no, the Murphy plan will avoid them, but reality disagrees!
In Texas, the wind was the unstated but expected reserve power because it was 23% of the installed power. However, the wind failed to blow when power was required and combined with the cold, wind produced only 1% of its installed power. The coal, gas and nuclear plants could not overcome the cold weather, plant shutdowns and the lack of wind, consequently grid blackouts occurred. Coal, gas and nuclear can be modified to handle cold. Wind can never be made to blow when needed.
The author’s plan to avoid blackouts in New Jersey consists of providing a small quantity of reliable nuclear power, an unknown amount of semi reliable battery backup power and enormous amounts of unreliable wind and solar power. The current average peak daily demand for power is 17,000 MW and this is expected to increase by 2050. To supply this power there will be 3,500 MW of reliable nuclear power, 2,500 MW of semi-reliable battery backup power and 28,000 MW of unreliable and intermittent wind and solar power. The battery power is only semi reliable because after a few hours the batteries have discharged and must be recharged by the unreliable wind and solar power. The 28,000 MW will be split between 11,000 MW of offshore wind power and 17,000 MW of solar power.
Nuclear power will be 10% of the installed power and batteries 6 %. What happens on a cloudy or still day? What will prevent blackouts or severe curtailment of energy use? The author’s solution to this unreliability is you will `shift some energy use to times when renewables are abundant and electricity prices are low’ which means live with it; change the way you live to conform to the wind and solar energy supply. This means wash your clothes and dishes and listen to music at 2:00 AM or whenever the sun shines and the winds blow.
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Seth Grossman, Executive Director