Tag Archives: Electric grid

The Weakening Electric Grid: Less Reliable, More Fragile, by Milton Exrati

Here’s a winning strategy. Increase the load on the electric grid with electric cars while plugging the infrastructure into intermittent wind and solar power and letting its infrastructure go to pot. From Milton Exrati at The Epoch Times via zerohedge.com:

As more and more irritated customers become certain that power shortages and blackouts have become more common, the electric grid’s problems receive more attention. They should. Shortages and blackouts have in fact become much more common than they once were. The electric power grid has become increasingly fragile and considerably less reliable. This is especially troubling because, at the same time, Washington and several states plan to burden it further with electric cars and an increase in the use of electric appliances.

In part, the power problem reflects the increased reliance on inherently intermittent wind and solar sources. But this straightforward fact of life is only part of the story behind the electric grid’s problems. Matters are much more complicated.

Evidence of failure is irrefutable and has sometimes appeared with great drama. A 2021 cold snap in Texas, for example, led to widespread blackouts and the death of 250 people. California has for years regularly imposed rolling brownouts and blackouts on utility customers. Just this past Christmas season, unusually cold weather across the country prompted utilities from Massachusetts and New York across the Midwest and into the south to beg their customers to turn down their thermostats and delay their use of appliances. Millions lost power for days in North Carolina and Tennessee. Downed power lines caused some of the problems, but in many cases electric utilities simply had to cut off power to some in order to a total crash of their systems. The incidence of prolonged blackouts for all reasons has doubled since 2013.

The green lobby, predictably, blames the problem on how climate change has created more severe weather. The fossil fuel industry and its allies in Congress, equally predictably, blame the problem on the unreliability of wind and solar. No doubt there is truth on both sides, though many of these points are debatable. One point, however, is not subject to cavil—that the wind does not always blow, and the sun does not always shine. Even in the face of this reality, these problems would seem to be something engineers could find solutions and investments could implement. But there is a complication, because most of the country uses regional transmission organizations (RTOs) to buy and sell power.

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Occasional Use Vehicles, by Eric Peters

If you force everyone to drive electric vehicles, the electric power and grid to support those vehicles will just happen. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:


There are a couple of things to be worried about with regard to electric vehicles – assuming you like electric vehicles – that have nothing to do with how far they can go or how long it takes before you can get going again.

The first thing is the disparity between electrical generating capacity – which is analogous to crude oil supplies, if we were talking about fueling cars with engines – and the amount of electricity that would be required to power a fleet of electric vehicles. As of right now, total U.S. grid generating capacity is about 1.2 million megawatts, with another 412,000 in the pipeline (so to speak). That would bring the total available capacity up to  . . . not even close to what a fleet of electric vehicles – including commercial vehicles – would require.

That being something in the neighborhood of 23 million megawatts.

The disparity is worse than that, too – if you factor out the electricity currently generated by the burning of hydrocarbon fuels such as natural gas (which accounts of about 42 percent of all electricity generated in the United States) and coal (another 18.5 percent). The two latter together constitute more than half of  all current generating capacity.

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Amid Energy Crisis, the Green Delusion Collides With Reality… Here’s What Happens Next, by Nick Giambruno

There’s absolutely no way the electric grid can support the mass adoption of electric cars. From Nick Giambruno at internationalman.com:

Energy Crisis and the Green Delusion

25 refrigerators.

That’s how much the additional electricity consumption per household would be if the average US home adopted electric vehicles.

Congressman Thomas Massie—an electrical engineer—revealed this information while discussing with Pete Buttigieg, the Secretary of Transportation, President Biden’s plan to have 50% of cars sold in the US be electric by 2030.

The current and future grid in most places will not be able to support each home running 25 refrigerators—not even close. Just look at California, where the grid is already buckling under the existing load.

Massie claims, correctly, in my view, that the notion of widespread adoption of electric vehicles anytime soon is a dangerous fantasy based on political science, not sound engineering.

Nevertheless, Western governments are falling over themselves to shun hydrocarbons—especially of Russian origin—and promote so-called “green” technologies like electric vehicles and supposed renewables such as wind and solar, which are better termed as unreliables.

Here’s the big problem, though…

Wind and solar power might be useful in specific situations. Still, it’s ridiculous to think they can provide reliable base load power for an advanced industrial economy even as they are now—never mind when every household is running 25 refrigerators.

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America’s Electric Grid Has A $2 Trillion Problem, by Tsvetana Paraskova

The net-zero economy is going to cost a lot of money. From Tsvetana Paraskova at oilprice.com:

  • The U.S. power grid is strained as-is, with disruption and outages becoming more frequent in many regions.
  • Regulatory ‘nightmare’ makes investments in the grid more complicated.
  • Grid upgrades may cost up to $2 trillion through 2050

Getting America to reach the goals of zero-carbon electricity generation by 2035 and net-zero economy by 2050 with a surge in electric vehicle transportation and renewable power installations will require massive investments in outdated power transmission lines and building thousands of miles of new lines. The undertaking is huge, and it’s so huge not only because the price tag for making the U.S. grid capable of handling a net-zero economy is estimated at a couple of trillion dollars.    Permitting, regulation and uncertainty over who is and should be in charge of the massive transformation of the power grid are also major hurdles to booming renewable power generation and massive adoption of electric vehicles (EVs).

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The Electrical Grid Is Becoming Increasingly Vulnerable To Catastrophic Failure, by John Kemp

The matter-of-fact tone of this article in no way belies its message: if a lot of money isn’t effectively spent on electric grid upgrades we’re all in trouble. Count on that message being ignored until there is some sort of catastrophic failure. From John Kemp at zerohedge.com:

Future electricity systems must be made more resilient

Prolonged blackouts in Louisiana following Hurricane Ida are a reminder the power grid needs to become more resilient as well as reliable if even more services such as electric vehicles are going to depend on it in future.

The electricity system is already directly responsible for providing a wide range of energy services in homes, offices and factories, including space heating, air-conditioning, cooking, refrigeration and power. The grid is also at the heart of a collection of other critical systems, including oil and gas supply, water and sewerage, transport, communications, public safety and healthcare, which cannot function properly without it.

In future, the grid is likely to be responsible for the provision of even more energy services as policymakers push to electrify many remaining services as part of the strategy for achieving net zero emissions.

But in the rush to electrify the entire energy system, policymakers may be inadvertently increasing the vulnerability of the economy and society in the event of a large-area, long-duration power failure.

Rather than several closely connected but separate systems for electricity, gas, oil, and transport, in future there will increasingly be only one very tightly integrated system, increasing its vulnerability to catastrophic failure.

The risk created by linking formerly separate systems into a central system prone to a single point of failure has been understood for decades (“Brittle power: energy strategy for national security“, Lovins, 1982). In particular, the more tightly coupled systems become, the greater the risk an unanticipated problem in one part could cascade through the whole (“Normal accidents: living with high-risk technologies“, Perrow, 1999).

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Report: Hackers can now cause blackouts on US electrical grid, by Rick Moran

This is obviously a disturbing possibility. From Rick Moran at americanthinker.com:

It was inevitable that someday, hackers would have the ability to exert control over the U.S. electrical grid.  According to the computer security firm Symantec, someday is today.

Hacking attacks over the last several months that targeted U.S. energy companies have been able to gain “operational control” over systems, thus threatening blackouts across the U.S., says Symantec.  The hacker group known as DragonFly 2.0 was able to gain control in at least 20 places, according to the firm.


Symantec on Wednesday revealed a new campaign of attacks by a group it is calling Dragonfly 2.0, which it says targeted dozens of energy companies in the spring and summer of this year. In more than 20 cases, Symantec says the hackers successfully gained access to the target companies’ networks. And at a handful of US power firms and at least one company in Turkey – none of which Symantec will name – their forensic analysis found that the hackers obtained what they call operational access: control of the interfaces power company engineers use to send actual commands to equipment like circuit breakers, giving them the ability to stop the flow of electricity into US homes and businesses.

“There’s a difference between being a step away from conducting sabotage and actually being in a position to conduct sabotage … being able to flip the switch on power generation,” says Eric Chien, a Symantec security analyst. “We’re now talking about on-the-ground technical evidence this could happen in the US, and there’s nothing left standing in the way except the motivation of some actor out in the world.”

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