Leaked DOE study draft: U.S. grids are getting more reliable, not less


Late Friday Bloomberg revealed that it had obtained a leaked draft of the study on baseload power, markets, subsidies and grid reliability ordered by U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry in April, which includes statements that run contrary to the boss’ own rationale for the study.

While Bloomberg did not publish the draft, it did publish a line which states that “The power system is more reliable today due to better planning, market discipline, and better operating rules and standards”.

It is not a far stretch from there to conclude that the additional levels of wind and solar which have been added in the United States have not wrecked the grid. This is also consistent with the experience of European nations. Denmark, where wind supplies more than half of the annual electricity (the highest portion in the world) has a far more reliable grid than the United States, as does Germany, where last year wind and solar met 18% of the nation’s electric demand (all renewables together met 29%). Spain and Portugal, which each get more than 25% of their power from wind and solar, also saw reliability increase during the periods of wind and solar deployment.

As such, while it has not been proven that wind and solar are the direct cause of greater system reliability, a correlation between deploying wind and solar and higher levels of grid reliability is clear…

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