Proof that Wind and Solar are Unreliable

Proof that Wind and Solar are Unreliable

We have known for a long while, something that the enthusiasts of renewable energy have denied: Wind and solar power generation is unreliable.

Enthusiasts, when confronted with the unreliability of wind and solar, have responded by saying:

“It’s not unreliable; it’s intermittent.”

Now, the PJM, a regional transmission organization (RTO), has proven wind and solar are unreliable.

PJM undertook a study to determine whether too much natural gas generation would be unreliable, and found, instead, that:

“A marked decrease in operational reliability was observed for portfolios with significantly increased amounts of wind and solar capacity.”

The study also showed that diversity didn’t mean greater reliability.

“Reliability did not depend so much on a diverse resource mix; it depended on generator reliability attributes.”

The PJM study established 13 criteria for determining reliability. Some of the criteria (which also included subsets) were frequency response, voltage control, ramping ability, fuel assurance, flexibility and black start capability.

Hydropower was the most reliable, with simple gas-turbines the second most reliable.

The PJM study quantifies what engineers have always known, wind and solar are unreliable, and that diversity can degrade reliability.

Reliability depends on “generator reliability attributes.”

These attributes, i.e., criteria, favor baseload units, including coal-fired, natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) and nuclear power plants, and also hydropower when used for baseload power.

Baseload power plants supply electricity 24/7, year round, interrupted only by periodically scheduled maintenance and the rare instance of a unit’s failure.

The PJM study should put to an end any debate about the reliability of wind and solar: They are unreliable.

Equally important, it should also put an end to the myth that diversity improves reliability: It doesn’t.

12 Replies to “Proof that Wind and Solar are Unreliable”

  1. What did the study define as “diversity” — different types of power generation, or generation spread over a wide area, or something else?

    • Thanks for making us aware of that study. Still I know what the green response will be – utilities are following an old business model. I would suggest a subject that addresses that sort of biz talk.
      BTW – I really liked your article on levelized cost of energy. You can see how it is misused whenever a “disruptive” technology is announced that will lower the price of solar, for example. It can be based on something as frail as a graduate student’s lab work. Unfortunately, many people are apparently that gullible.

      • Thanks for your comment.
        Unfortunately, most people lack engineering or scientific backgrounds so they accept at face value whatever the media reports. And the media is pushing an agenda, supporting the CO2 hypothesis and so-called clean energy required to accomplish the cutting of CO2 emissions.

  2. I’ve been looking at sites on the subject for years, and this is among the best. Please keep up the good work. The Charlton behind the AGW scam is a collective of powerful greedy men, deceived into turning mankind into a servant of evil. Of course they deny God exists, or any spiritual beings for that matter. They think death is an escape and they’ll never be held accountable for their actions. After all if there is a God, Jesus is love, and wouldn’t punish the willfully ignorant. If only they knew what love is, they would know it doesn’t work that way. I just had a meeting with some of the most intelligent people in the country, and the majority have failed to see the environmental movement was hijacked by the elite, and used to deceive them into setting in motion plans that aren’t designed to protect human rights, but subvert them.

    • Thank you for a very comprehensive comment.
      To me, there is no question that the Left has hijacked the issue of global warming in an effort to change our capitalistic system. In fact, their leaders have said so. I have quotes from their leaders in my book saying as much.Cristina Figueres, while head of the UNFCCC said, their purpose was to change the economic system.

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