North American electric is failing under electrification trend demands and growth pressure

North American electric is failing under electrification trend demands and growth pressure

The grid is not capable to support demands without major investments!

Looming RISKS! Energy Poverty!

If we do not slow down on renewable conversation and autonomous vehicles we are in for a huge surprise!

Our planet may not be able to support an exploding population and the existing North American (Canada, USA and Mexico) electric distribution grid cannot support the current and future demand without major negative impacts to society!

Our energy systems are pushed to their limits, by varying demands, automation, robotics, weather changes, electrification and general industrial and home demands. Adding to the complexity of supply and demands coal and gas power generation sources are simultaneously being taken offline, the impact is felt at much greater scale without segmented distribution power sources. This is forcing us to effectively lower our reliability on fewer large power sources, therefore reducing the number of towns and people affected when one or more of these go offline.

The current cumulative demand effects of:

Ü Electric Vehicles, Automation and Autonomous vehicles

Ü Gas to Renewables.

Ü High-power consumption of technology such as BC, AI, ML, RPA, Cloud and Quantum and Bitcoin computing

Ü Manufacturing and other industrial demands

Ü Home demands

Ü Shale and mining explosion demands on our energy grid are beyond it current capacity and capabilities.

Regulators, power producers, grid operators and other stakeholders across North America are concurrently experiencing the grid vulnerability that, left unaddressed, will impact load management and increase upgrade costs, further weakening an already fragile grid resilience and reliability. This raises the potential for more frequent and severe, power cuts, blackouts, brownouts, and other symptoms of power system instability.

Industry already decimated by the pandemic, cannot afford an avoidable impact and increase cost, it is very bad for business. Without immediate and concerted action to modernize the electric grid — the obligatory maintenance deferrals, uncertain demand forecasts, supply chain disruptions — may prove disastrous to consumers in the long-term as they exacerbate this long-standing, systemic deficiency. Consumers, generators and distributors all see it as an imperative for all utilities and partners players in the electric power sector consider all opportunities for grid stability enhancement and modernization

The need to modernize the US electric grid is now!

The distribution and transmission grid cannot handle peak demand during winter cold, natural environmental events, man made wildfires or summer heat!

According to Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Reliability and resilience – even in the face of extreme events – is achieved through diversity, redundancy, and modularization. Co-locating energy supply with demand through microgrids and other DERs [distributed energy resources] is an important step in preventing widespread crises like this in the future.

The blame for the massive power outages as the polar vortex cold snap reached Texas and power outages linger on, the argument is that renewables had a huge part to play in the crisis, with natural gas and coal the indirect culprits due to their reduced availability resulting in infrastructure freezing and diverting supplies for heating purposes.

What politicians are ignoring is the real problem that not only lies in Texas but plagues the North American grid and everywhere where energy demand is growing, the aging grid is not longer reliable, resilient and have the capacity to meet peak demands due to weather or other unforeseen events.

According to some estimates. The North American Grid is the largest interconnected network on Earth. Over 500,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines and 6.8 million miles of local distribution lines, linking thousands of generating plants, facilities and micro grids to factories, homes and businesses. This is a gigantic integrated network that feed electricity to every corner of the continent and it is becoming more and more diversified with the introduction of alternate energy generation sources.

Natural gas power generation played a huge part and reason for the power outages in Texas, it was certainly not the availability of gas that caused the blackouts in California during a heatwave. Grid reliability has come to the fore because the decarbonization of electricity generation is not all fun, games, and a serious matter while, zero-emission power generation and distribution is not realistic at this time.

The grid, in its current condition (supply, generation, demand) cannot support the massive shift to low-carbon power generation.

Several disasters impacted the power and utilities industry in 2020, bringing disaster preparedness and readiness to the forefront. Going into 2021, utilities should deploy and integration of digital tools and industrial technologies to address the “Multidemic” [1] impacts of COVID-19, Social disruptions, Infrastructure collapse, Cybersecurity and Extreme weather events such as wildfires, heat and cold snaps. As grid operators found that while cold snaps can pose challenges in some specific areas, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic combined with other events are causing increased uncertainty in electricity demand projections and presents multiple levels of risks across they systems. The biggest risks after power availability and the cost to consumers, we are already experiencing energy poverty at various levels and locations across North America.

The events in Texas and California and other regions across north America during unforeseen events, wildfire, cold snaps, summer heat, droughts etc. demonstrate is the unreliability and gaps of having highly-centralized power systems and the true value of resilience and flexibility in our energy grids, a value that is going to become even more vital as we continue to transition to renewable energy and electrification. In Texas, the state’s fleet of wind farms lost up to 4.5 gigawatts of capacity at times, as many turbines stopped working in cold and icy conditions. Experts said, an electric grid optimized to deliver huge quantities of power on the hottest days of the year was caught unprepared when temperatures plummeted freezing up gas plants and wind turbines. So much for an affordable and secure reliable power supply.

Wind turbines can be equipped with heaters and other devices so that they can operate in icy conditions — as is often done in the upper Midwest, where cold weather is more common. Gas plants can be built to store oil on-site and switch over to burning the fuel if needed, as is often done in the Northeast, where natural gas shortages are common. Grid regulators can design markets that pay extra to keep a larger fleet of backup power plants in reserve in case of emergencies, as is done in the Mid-Atlantic.

But these solutions all cost money, and grid operators are often wary of forcing consumers to pay extra for safeguards. All these safeguards tell me that the systems to transition to renewables and lower carbon emissions are a bunch of malarky, that is only enabled to support the UN mandate with little or no regard for driving up the costs to consumers (for food, clothing, shelter, heat and healthcare), impacting the most vulnerable population in North America.

Based on my estimation the future of energy as we transition to renewables and upgrade the grid to mitigate risks will drive up to 70% of the population into energy poverty! I guess is back to nature and wood fuel for heat and cooking, bring back the lumberjack trade. People, let’s not forget who we are serving and why we exist!

All over the country, utilities and grid operators are managing variables, heat waves, floods, water shortages and other calamities, all of which could create various levels of risks to the nation’s electricity systems. Adding the task of building in grid and supply resilience is becoming increasingly urgent. Many socialist leaning politicians are promoting electric cars and electric heating as a way of curbing greenhouse gas emissions. But as more of the nation’s economy depends on reliable flows of electricity, the cost of blackouts will become ever more dire. Adapting to these risks could carry a hefty price tag again to support my point of a large percentage of the population will be driven to energy poverty in time to come.

On the other hand, it appears that decentralizing the grid could go quite a long way towards reducing risks and ensuring a stable power supply. Of course, it will also cost money. Today, threats to the reliability of the power grid are numerous: cyber-attacks, weather, social disruptions and accidents. Fortunately, most of these threats are also the most avoidable—Siloed regulations and bad policies at all levels of government is adding to the grid management complexities and introducing unnecessary risks at the cost to the consumer. Federal and state policies are already increasing electricity bills around the country, and the worst effects are yet to come.

But with the right incentives, investment might be more palpable for consumers than higher electricity bills with added carbon taxes because utilities are centrally strengthening the grid. In any case, one thing is clear, and it is that grids, as they are at the moment, will not be able to cope successfully with the changes in the energy needs as most on-peak demand is served by natural-gas-fired generation, therefore impacts to fuel supplies can result in energy emergencies on the Bulk Power Systems with a potential for load impacts.

Grid operators say they are taking steps to address the risks, and keeping an eye on maintaining baseload plants for system reliability. As the system transitions to wind and solar generation, the recent environmental events highlight that resource and energy adequacy must be assured and changes to the generation input mix introduces greater risks, variability, and adding complexities to long term planning.

Overall, the North American power system has evolved with geographically based grid architecture structures, including five blocks of internally-synchronous interconnected regions known as “interconnections”: Western, Eastern, Texas, Quebec, and Mexican interconnections. Trade takes place between interconnections via inter-tie stations