…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.