Solar power causing problems with electricity grid

Nellis_Solar_panelsOne theme has covered is how solar power can cause problems to the state’s existing electricity grid. An investigation a year ago found:

An emerging problem with California’s new green power grid is the need to ramp up enough conventional power each day because of two events:

1) When solar power is sunsetting (going dark);

2) When the mostly nighttime wind power turbines aren’t spinning enough yet to take over.

Now this is happening. Utility Dive just ran a story with the headline: “SDG&E: If you’re not prepared for the change, it’s too late.”

Sub-headline: “Sunny San Diego may be the perfect place for solar, but solar adoption is causing serious problems on the grid.”

The article reported:

The issues caused by rooftop solar are some of the biggest challenges that SDG&E faces today, James Avery, senior vice president of power supply, told Utility Dive in an interview at SDG&E’s headquarters outside of downtown San Diego.

“There’s this interesting situation where people have a perception of, ‘I’m putting solar on my roof, I’m doing something that’s good,’ Avery said. ‘Yet at the same time, they don’t realize that they’re actually creating burdens on the system that everyone else has to pay for.’”

The problem, as SDG&E would have it, is that the adoption of solar makes the electricity system harder to run, but solar customers pay less for it.

Given that Gov. Jerry Brown is seeking to make California electricity production 50 percent renewable by 2030, these types of difficulties likely will persist.

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  1. Erocker
    Erocker 1 March, 2015, 11:03

    Now that everybody has smart meters we can now move to time of use price variations. If the price of energy was to increase from 6 pm to 11pm by say 20% you would eliminate the electric cars from coming home and just plugging in. They would all set their timers, which they all have, to a later time at night. I am sure there are other adjustment that would occur also. The utility companys need to get ahead of this problems now to educate the public.

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John Seiler

John Seiler

John Seiler has been writing about California for 25 years. That includes 22 years as an editorial writer for the Orange County Register and two years for, where he is managing editor. He attended the University of Michigan and graduated from Hillsdale College. He was a Russian linguist in U.S. Army military intelligence from 1978 to 1982. He was an editor and writer for Phillips Publishing Company from 1983 to 1986. He has written for Policy Review, Chronicles,, Flash Report and numerous other publications. His email: [email protected]

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