Grid systems balance power as wind and solar increase
05/16/2013 1 Comment
How do we keep refrigerators running 24/7 as more solar and wind power is installed? Texas, California and Iowa are now getting 20% of their electricity from renewables; and the US average is 13% and growing.
Electricity needs to flow continuously. All power plants stop sometimes, for maintenance or accidents, and demand changes by the minute, with temperature changes or popular media events.
Grid operators are the quarterbacks; they keep it happening; they call the plays. Working in giant control rooms with huge arrays of dozens of screens monitoring electric input and output, they balance the supply and move electricity to where it is needed. Weather reports help grid operators plan. When the wind is dying down, or clouds are on the horizon, operators pull power from other areas that are making plenty of electricity, or turn on idled plants, and increase supply. The bigger the area served by a grid station, the more options it has for balancing the electric load.
Check out this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSiCRZcJnfE